A question – have you ever given your children a camera to play with? Perhaps they have a toy one, a freebie from a magazine, a sturdy wooden one (we had one of these!), or even a proper one that works?
Sofie had her first camera at 5. A friend bought her a disposable camera to make a scrapbook with, and then I gave her my old mini digital point and shoot. While she has hefted my ‘proper’ camera before and got some nice shots I need it too much to risk it being dropped before a shoot! But if I’m honest, Milo has had very little to do with cameras himself, and even Sofie’s digital camera is in a drawer somewhere right now. Bad mummy.
And I don’t mean using the camera on your phone or other device either – for me it’s important for children to know what it’s like to look through a viewfinder, to compose and think about what they see – and not just because that brings us all the fabulous photographers of tomorrow, but because it will make your family session go a whole lot easier – let me explain!
Now I’ve no scientific study in this area, but I have noticed that children who are used to the idea that a person looks through a box at them and goes ‘click’ are much more comfortable in portrait sessions. They know that when the crazy lady (ahem) disappears behind the black box she’s still there, still interested. They know what the click means. And when the crazy lady reappears again they know they might (if they ask very nicely) get to see a picture of themselves on the back. I simply don’t believe, from my experience, that children get the same comfort with a portrait session from Liveview on an iPad or iPhone.
Take these images with little Samantha, aged two. I brought along another of my little props, this fabulous Fisher Price Camera, for her to play with and get used to. She loved looking through it (both ways!), clicking, pointing at us, and having it pointed at her. She’s naturally pretty relaxed in front of the camera but I believe this was a lovely interlude that helped the session go smoothly.
So if you’re planning a portrait session, and you’re not sure that your child is comfortable with the idea of a camera snapping, why not pull out an old camera, or a toy, and let them play? Explain what happens, make it a game, and then when you meet me they’ll be super excited! Of course I always ensure everyone is at ease while I work, but this little bit of prep might just save a meltdown or two when the big black box comes out to play.
What do you think? Do you agree? Let me know your thoughts, or also if you’d like to make your very own snap-happy booking! See you soon!