“Terrible Twos” they say. However, whenever I run into a mother of a three year old…I hear “terrible twos, yeah right!“. With their ever growing vocabulary and ability to throw temper tantrums, the show down at the grocery store leaves you regretting ever rolling your eyes at that mom in your shoes a few years ago. Although my own daughter is no where near this stage, I’ve come to know it all too well from my past nannying jobs. This has come as a great advantage in my photography career. Especially now that I’m shooting more children portraits than anything else right now.
Although it can be difficult shooting the fast and furious threes on a manual camera, it’s worth it because when you do capture those sweet little expressions it’s authentic and pure. From joy, orneriness, frustration, concentration, to fear….they are transparent and wear their feelings on their sleeves. They haven’t learned to hide emotion or disguise it. It’s all there. I guess that’s the overwhelming part of children this age.
The gusto of the emotion they’re experiencing is best when you’re on their level experiencing what they are. They want you to join them, it’s the fastest way they will open up to you. This is where I’ll get on my knees to see them eye to eye when I’m talking to them. If they are being mischievous, be mischievous too. If they want to roll around on the ground…it’s time to get a little dirty. If they just want to explore in silence, I’ll just stay calm and quiet behind the scenes. When they see me as a friend instead of just another adult…they won’t hide their face from my camera lens. Although occasionally I’m able to get them to sit still long enough to capture a posed photo, that is never the norm for this age. The shots I normally capture are all over the place, but they will be real…and to me that is more “perfect” than anything forced or lacking authenticity.