Recently a question was asked in one of my photography groups, that question being what is was that we, as photographers, most liked to capture in our work.
My answer was twofold; what I like to capture are connections and emotion.
I'll be honest, it was a pain in the butt getting my qualification panels together and its a similar pain in the butt entering images for competition. You see to be successful in both you need to demonstrate technical ability and a knowledge of your craft, so there are certain rules that must be followed. For example in portraiture, hands must be elegantly posed, a nose shouldn't break the line of the cheek when the head is turned and so on. I primarily photograph babies and young children and, as any parent to a lively two year old will appreciate, its not often you can capture a technically 'perfect' pose in addition to a perfect expression that parents will love.
Therefore, whilst these posing rules are all well and good for competition and qualification, when I'm shooting for clients what my shutter finger is waiting for is a specific moment in time. I might catch that moment when a parent is looking adoringly at their newborn baby, or when a small child is concentrating really hard on something he or she is holding in their hands. Back when I photographed weddings I would look for the expression on the groom's face when his bride first appeared at the bottom of the aisle and it never failed to tell the story. Whether it was a look of pure love or sometimes what looked like pure terror on that groom's face - I wanted that expression on my memory card!
For me, I would rather capture moments of emotion and connection than have the most perfectly posed portrait with a forced, unnatural smile.
So yes mummies and daddies, please don't worry if your little one doesn't want to give me the biggest smile. Just let them get used to me and my little studio and trust that the camera will capture some wonderful, natural expressions. At Ellie J Photography smiles are lovely - but not compulsory!
It doesn't always have to be a smile that makes the photo! Yawns, frowns and sneezes are all good to capture!
In fact, some of my favourite images are taken when a smile seems a mile away!
Young children don't hide their natural expressions like adults can and if you press the shutter at just the right time the results can be magical. I love capturing moments like this....surprise!
Babies never cease to amaze me - even at a young age they are capable of the most amazing connection with their parents.....
...or even, the most amazing connection with my camera and I!
The right expression, for me, is priceless. It doesn't always have to be a smile, but smiles are always good to get....
...And yes, of course windy smiles count!
Thanks for reading!