This past weekend I had a session with the cutest little three-year-old. This was my first session since COVID hit and shut everything down. I’ve been wanting to shoot for a couple of months but the numbers kept going up and down, I wasn’t sure what I should do. Considering I photograph children, I wasn’t sure how safe parents would feel with me photographing them, nor was I sure how comfortable I felt about photographing them. Then I got a call from a woman and a semi-new friend, Nissan. We met some time ago but I honestly don’t remember how or where. I’m thinking it was some networking event but who knows. We ended up setting up a meetup at the Starbucks in a Barnes and Nobles bookstore. We had the most wonderful chat.
Anyway, she contacted me out of the blue needing images of her daughter for a modeling agency. Can’t you see why?
I was more than happy to oblige. We had a consultation over the phone and then she took it from there. They had a ball shopping for little Chanelle. I told her it wasn’t necessary but she insisted that Chanelle needed some more clothes anyway. Yeah, that’s what they all say. (wink wink) Needless to say, they were totally prepared for the session when I arrived. Nissan had even prepped Chanelle for my arrival by showing her my picture, telling her my name, and telling her why I was coming over. When I arrived you would have thought that she had already met me. She was so excited and extremely helpful and curious. She helped me set up my backdrop, my light stand, and white balance my camera. She followed directions very well.
During the session, she sang as the music played in the background on the tv. I don’t know what the final count was, but evidently, she has several favorite songs. At some point, I started singing along with some of the songs. Some of them were old enough for me to actually know about. The bad thing is I left there with Baby Shark stuck in my head. She was an excellent example of why I love working with three-year-olds. My main reasons for loving three-year-olds is 1) they usually don’t know how cute they are yet; 2) they are genuine in their reaction to you and other stimuli you put in front of them; 3) they usually follow directions really well, which leads into the fourth one; 4) they are good at mirroring. If you show them what you want them to do, they can usually do it; 5) they are people pleasers and want to do what they believe is going to make you pleased with them.
As with all my clients, I talk to them throughout the session. I give them feedback on how they are doing, as well. With kids, sometimes you have to say “catchphrases” that they are used to that make them laugh or smile. I think she may have been saying pizza, supergirl, or you go girl! You may not get a smile, but you will definitely get a cute expression.
At one point in the session, Nissan asked Chanelle if she wanted to ride the school bus to school and she basically said, “No mommy because we still have the coronavirus.” Even the baby knows how serious this is. Another point in the session, I determined that I needed Nissan to hold the reflector for me to add a little more light to a shadow on the side of Chanelle’s face. Chanelle thought that she should be holding the reflector because she was my helper, not her mommy. Eventually, we were able to convince her that her mommy needed to hold it.
At the end of the session, Chanelle helped me break down my set, just like she helped me set up. After we were done, I chased her around the living room while her parents selected the images that they wanted. When all was said and done, Chanelle decided that she wanted to go home with me. I asked her if she would miss her mommy and daddy and she said, “no”. I told her that they would miss her. She again said, “No”. When I say she was determined to go home with me, it is not an understatement. As I was saying goodbye and getting in my truck, Chanelle had a minor breakdown because she couldn’t go with me. I’m pretty sure that she had a good nap after that though. Below are some images from the session.
“In all this world, there is nothing so beautiful as a happy child.” ~ L. Frank Baun