Looking at this photograph, I bet you would never guess the reason this smile exists is because of a small bag of plain M&M’s. It’s true. I would have never guessed it either, but that is how I got this smile to appear.
On a Sunday afternoon, I planned to shoot a few family photographs for some friends. I have really good people in my life who let me “learn” while using them as guinea pigs. In the end they get pictures, and I get practice doing something I love.
This was the first family scheduled that day. We picked the State Capitol as our background as it offered a variety of colors and backgrounds. I drove up to the building, parked, and was surprised to see so many other photographers shooting that afternoon. It was an interesting site to see from my perspective. Of course I am curious to see how other photographers do things. Do they include props? What about posing? In between shoots that afternoon, I “people watched” to get ideas on the process for the next round.
Anyway, back to the session. I began to place everyone together for a few shots and tested out the lighting. Then we began. I should mention that when we decided to do this, they let me know that getting a smile from their little girl might take time. She can often be shy in new places.
We took a few shots. No smile. We tried some tickling moves, and I did my best attempts at acting silly. No smile. I was getting nervous. With a few tries under our belt and no luck, I figured it was time to try another spot. So, we moved onto another area. I love black and white photographs. And action shots. When I combine both, those are the photographs I love the most because you can see excitement and you are able to capture as moments take place.
My idea for capturing some actions shots: incorporate presents. I placed a white, textured blanket on the green grass below. I checked the light. It looked even. I propped a black-wired basket filled with presents on the side. Little did Aida know that in one of those presents I snuck a small bag of M&Ms so she could have a surprise at the end of the experience. I turned my camera onto the black and white setting. I handed her a present. And off she went unwrapping.
Click. Click. I captured the way her hands gripped the red and white snowflake wrapping paper as she ripped open the sides. Click. Click. I caught her surprise face as she opened the box and spotted candy inside. One last click and there it was. The smile that I had been itching to capture from the moment they walked up. All because of bag of M&Ms.
From that moment on, getting a few laughing and smiling shots was easy. We had cheese faces. And closed-eyed faces. And laughter. I captured the family together, and in thirty minutes we were done. I was excited because I felt I accomplished what I had set out do: Capture beautiful moments with families. And today, I share those moments with you!
A big THANK YOU to the Casey Family for letting me capture these moments for them!
Location: State Capitol
City: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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