Is a candid photo session right for you and your kids?
I really WANT to say yes to every single person who asks this question, and yes to every single person who needs photos. But frankly, candid photography is only right for the people who actually want it.
Is a candid session right for you and your kids? Or are you a better fit for a more formal, posed session? Here are some questions you can ask yourself while you're deciding what route you should go.
1. Can I let go of the "perfectionist" mindset?
I put this question first because it's honestly the hottest button! Some people truly WANT to let go, but can't get there. There is absolutely nothing wrong with formal photography where everything is just so. But if you love the way candid photography looks and hope to see your family doing that, you should ask yourself if you can let go of adjusting outfits, smoothing hairs, and sitting perfectly modeled. Can you forget about asking your kids to say "cheese"? Can you let things be as they are in the moment? Or do you prefer more structure? Candid photography is full of photos of real-life moments and details like flyaway hairs, crumpled shirts, and closed eye laughs. For some people it can take some intention to allow space for that.
2. Does my partner want to do this?
Candid photography is NOT quick and posed, in-and-out photography. So I think it's important to make sure your partner is on the same page as you and willing to relax & engage during photos. Can you include them in the process? Will they be on board with a no-one-gets-in-trouble hour? Will they play, sit in silence, and open up with you? The photographer can help, but can't make it happen without willing participants.
3. Do I like it when people aren't looking at the camera?
When you've gotten your photos back from a photographer in the past, did you hate it when you've seen people not looking at the camera? Do you wish everyone was always looking in the same direction and "ready" for a photo? As a candid photographer, my experience is that sometimes everyone looks at the camera at the sime time naturally, and sometimes not. I'll throw in 1 or 2 "Okay, everybody look here on the count of 3" per session so we check it off the list. But are you okay with that kind of spontenaity and balance?
4. How do I want my kids to FEEL during photos?
There's no right answer to this, but you should keep it in mind while you decide to go candid or not because how kids feel while we're taking photos makes a huge difference in the way the photos come out.
As a candid photographer, I would want these words to come to a client's mind: safe, playful, relaxed, free to roam, inquisitive, and silly. Do you want photos of your kids feeling this way, or do you prefer a quick smile and formal pose?
Are we coming to them, or are they coming to us? I love it when kids feel like they want to show me their rooms, toys, and favorite things outside. There's no room for that if we as adults are showing them what WE want to do.
5. Do I want to be told what to do with every part of my body?
Or would you prefer to forget about it and have photos of emotions and activities instead? It's a legitimate question and everyone is different.
6. Are there "extras" I want to rememeber?
Is it important to you to capture memories of the extra little things your kids do while they play? Is it important to you to capture phases? Do you like looking back at photos of a detail and having a feeling come back to you?
That's how you know a candid photographer is for you!
Okay, I admit it - I'm biased.
Obviously I am partial to candid photos - you caught me! And I think everyone should want to do it! But I aboslutely undersand if you honestly answered some of these questions and you decide the loose structure isn't for you. I'm here to help you figure it out if you need more help or are still on the fence!