NEW JERSEY CHILDREN’S PHOTOGRAPHER | GETTING NATURAL EXPRESSIONS IN PICTURES | “The Faces of Christmas”

NEW JERSEY CHILDREN’S PHOTOGRAPHER | GETTING NATURAL EXPRESSIONS IN PICTURES | “The Faces of Christmas” pin it button

“The Faces of Christmas”

At the Castle, “Chees(e)” is a four-letter word. We don’t say it.

Instead, we employ a little bit of child psychology. When we photograph a child, genuine expression is one of the most important elements in a photograph (second only to the light that illuminates them!).

We learn a lot about our child clients before the session when we have our pre- consultation meetings. It helps us set up a shoot that is appropriate to the child’s personality.

So, we thought it would be fitting to share some of the many “faces of Christmas”… the beautifully natural expressions of our adorable clients and how we achieved them.

SALVATORE, AGE 4

Salvatore started off a little serious during our session. We knew he was a playful yet very well behaved boy from our consult, so we tried to get a little playful.

ME: “Hey Salvatore, Did you know… I am Santa Clause? Yes, I am wearing a disguise as a lady. What? You don’t believe me?  Just because I have yellow hair and don’t have a sleigh? Oh my belly?? Yes, I went on a big diet. No, I am serious, It’s ME, Santa!”

He challenged me with a series of questions to prove to him I was really Santa. He instantly became engaged. His Mom just loved his “Goodfellas” expression here.

NEW JERSEY CHILDREN’S PHOTOGRAPHER | GETTING NATURAL EXPRESSIONS IN PICTURES | “The Faces of Christmas” SALVATORE I AM SANTA 682x1024

Next, we whipped out the candy canes and allowed him to hide them inside a box so no one could find them.

ME: “Salvatore, you know all the candy canes you put in the box? A reindeer came by… and he ate them all.”

We thought his worried/concerned/skeptically polite expression here was precious.

NEW JERSEY CHILDREN’S PHOTOGRAPHER | GETTING NATURAL EXPRESSIONS IN PICTURES | “The Faces of Christmas” salvatore started the session 1024x682

GRACIE, AGE 2

With Gracie, we were shooting for a fine art holiday card. We wanted a more serious look on her face that would show some depth and be appropriate to the card theme. Gracie is an observant child and very much a thinker. But she is also a non-stop on-the-go toddler. We needed to engage her with something to think about – but had to accomplish that very quickly.

ME: “Ohhh Gracie. I am very, very sad,” (she stopped dead in her tracks).

“I am worried Santa won’t know that I was a good girl this year. Am I a good girl Gracie?”

I love the beautiful, soulful expression it yielded.

NEW JERSEY CHILDREN’S PHOTOGRAPHER | GETTING NATURAL EXPRESSIONS IN PICTURES | “The Faces of Christmas” GRACIE I AM SAD 1024x682

NICHOLAS, AGE 3

Nicholas was a bit mischievous and overly energetic on the say of the shoot, according to his Mom. Here in this photo, we see nothing but a quiet, sweet little angel. We tried to play on his sympathy a bit to get this angelic expression.

ME: “Nicholas, I would like a puppy for Christmas. Do you think you can call Santa and see if he will bring me a puppy? I will be so sad if I don’t get a puppy.”

He looked deep into my eyes and said “yes”. While his expression is simple and stoic, it has soul, as if he is looking right through you.

Then I played on his imagination a bit:

ME: “Nicholas, look into this black circle (my lens). Can you see the reindeer antlers growing out of it, Nicholas?”

Look at his little smirk… a little bit skeptical, but beaming with adorable innocence.

NEW JERSEY CHILDREN’S PHOTOGRAPHER | GETTING NATURAL EXPRESSIONS IN PICTURES | “The Faces of Christmas” NICHOLAS ANTLERS 2 1024x682

ANTHONY, AGE 3.5

Anthony does not enjoy having his photo taken. He gets giddy and quirky when a camera is around. Then he often looks off in another direction and interacts that way.

ME: “Hey, Anthony! I am going to eat that chin dimple. And when Santa asks me who ate it, I am going to tell him it was the Grinch, Anthony!”

He instantly pushed out his chin and teased me with it. The moment was instantly captured.

NEW JERSEY CHILDREN’S PHOTOGRAPHER | GETTING NATURAL EXPRESSIONS IN PICTURES | “The Faces of Christmas” ANTHONY SHOW ME YOUR CHIN DIMPLE 682x1024

STEVEN, AGE 10

I’ve been photographing Steven for a few years now. He’s like my little old man and the spitting image of his grandfather whom I also know. Steven is at a crossroads where girls are simultaneously yucky and pretty, and where looking cool and in control is very important. Fist step was to pose him in a way he’d feel grown up. I asked him to stand the way a man who’s in charge would stand. He kept his mouth closed because he was self conscious of his (soon-to-be-braces) teeth.

ME: “So…Steven, you’re looking so handsome. What does Madison have to say about this?  (He asks me “Madison who?”). Oh, Steven, you know Madison…your girlfriend in your class. Wait…WHAT? There’s no Madison? Well who is it then? Caitlyn? Kelly? Tiffany? …Mabel? Betty? Gertrude?”

He immediately starts blushing and cracking up, then glanced over to his mom to see if she’s paying attention to this embarrassing yet silly conversation. We BOTH loved this shot.

NEW JERSEY CHILDREN’S PHOTOGRAPHER | GETTING NATURAL EXPRESSIONS IN PICTURES | “The Faces of Christmas” STEVEN 1024x682

STEVEN AND ELIZABETH

Steven was then asked to pose with his older sister, the lovely Elizabeth. “Liz” is the ham of the shoot and always willing to pose beautifully. At first, Steven would just comply stoically.

ME: “Oh, Liz…Steven, Come on Guys! Let’s play a game. When I count to three you are going to PRETEND that you actually like each other! Oh yes, that’s right Steven… She LOVES her baby bro.”

They started to crack up laughing and immediately Liz makes him cringe with a kiss, resulting in a timelessly funny sibling photo they’ll treasure in the years to come.

NEW JERSEY CHILDREN’S PHOTOGRAPHER | GETTING NATURAL EXPRESSIONS IN PICTURES | “The Faces of Christmas” LIZ AND STEVEN lets pretend you like each other 1024x682

You’ll notice from each of these instances, we use the child’s name, and we use it frequently. It’s something we do that lets them know THEY are in charge, that we are paying attention to THEM, and that it’s all about THEM in that moment.

Children of all ages and personalities come to see us. Every one of them is special.

If you’d like us to work with your child, we welcome the opportunity! Just call us at the studio at 732.964.3773.

Cate

NEW JERSEY CHILDREN’S PHOTOGRAPHER | GETTING NATURAL EXPRESSIONS IN PICTURES | “The Faces of Christmas” pin it button

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