When you see photos that aren’t posed, you feel like you’re getting a ‘fly on the wall’ vantage point of the subjects life.
But, how do you achieve that as a photographer? How do you take naturally candid photos when they hired you to be there?
First of all, the family has to want candid photos. Not everyone does, and that’s okay. Some families are more drawn to symmetrical photos where hairs aren’t out of place, posture is perfect and all eyes are on the camera.
When I work with a family that says, take us as we are- this beautiful mess- I want to document the essence of who they are. That might start with a pose, because let’s be honest- they need to all be in the same frame.
For these first few photos, I had them sit on a retaining wall with the kids on their laps. Then, I start giving prompts. I ask them to tickle the kids or I ask them to look at the person with the stinkiest feet.
With kids, I will place them together, then ask someone to say something silly in a sibling’s ear. Or ‘snuggle like kittens.’ Sometimes people need prompts and sometimes life unfolds and I get to just click away.
When I move into a more open space, I can have moms and dads run toward each other with the kids or give bigger movement prompts. And the prompts aren’t necessarily what I’m hoping to capture. I might ask mom and dad to kiss each other, not for the kiss, but for the reactions and the laughter.