We couldn’t figure out what she wanted in this photo at first. It turned out she wanted to hold her dog! And then she wanted to play with her, so we set them both free in the leaves, and the dog ran laps while little Miss laughed hysterically.
“This is getting out of hand.” said Dad.
“Yes!” I said, “but I like it!”
I really like this photoshoot, not only because of the lovely family (and dog! score!) but because it illustrates beautifully one of my deep-seeded beliefs about portrait photography: it is not necessary to have everyone grinning at the camera in every shot to get lovely, joyful photos. Case in point, this little lady was quite serious in many frames, but it’s still clear she was having a nice time with her parents and her dog in the park on a beautiful fall day. Not that I don’t love a great big belly laugh face, but I will never demand that little kids smile at me. That’s fun for no one. It’s an approach that takes a little faith, but it works, because we have these great shots of her soulful, mildly amused face, and it slays me.
P.S. getting little kids to look at the camera is sometimes a challenge, and then I’ll shamelessly sing or wave a toy in front of my camera to see their face. Everyone with kids in New York City seems to have this beloved Sophie the Giraffe toy, and I was making MYSELF laugh dancing her in front of the lens – and even more so when I got this shot of her.