It won’t be long before she is driving, getting a job, and thinking about boyfriends… yikes. Childhood happens way too fast. But I can’t help but see this emerging beauty. Every day I see this little girl and want to hold on to the images of her sweet smile and easy going ways.
I kind of feel like parenting is a bit of a tug of war. We so want our kids to be independent and dependent all at the same time. We want to see them experience new things and have nothing ever change.
She is nine… going on 20. haha. I love taking beautiful portraits of her because for the past few years I don’t think she thought she was beautiful. She really really struggled with her hair. It seemed like this beast that would not be tamed. She usually wore it up and didn’t care what it did. Now I see this young girl developing and I feel that same old tug. Her dolls don’t sit on the top shelf anymore and she doesn’t wear sequence skirts any more. She has replaced those things with chapter books and bracelets.
I I like the girl she is, but I miss the girl she was too. Darn that tug.
A Few Tips for Taking Pre-tween and Tween Pictures
When kids are little they are unaware and cute. They smile with no effort at all…and its always cute. You don’t have to necessarily “pose”them… you just have to get them to stay in one spot for two seconds. Well, as kids get older they just get awkward. Not only are they themselves often awkward, but they FEEL awkward… especially during pictures. How do I stand? What do I do? Is this smile ok? I can only imagine all of the “Are we done yet?” thoughts going through their heads.
Here are five simple tips for working with your older child
1. Give them something to hold. This might be a book, a hat, a baseball bat or ball… even a leaf. Something in their hands will put their minds a ease.
2. Have them doing something or wearing something that they like and that is natural for them. The more comfortable they are the more real their pictures will be.
3. Ask them what they want to do. For my girls this is pretty easy…they like being out in nature. But my son…well he is more complicated. He would take nice pictures outside too, but if I want to get him to really shine I need to almost get him distracted. Maybe your child loves skateboarding or playing a sport. I would start there. Take a few “portraits” and then let them have some fun.
4. Tell them where and what to look at. I have to do this with my little lady above. She is kind of getting to an awkward stage where her smile is either dead or over the top alive. So often I have her look at something or do something. I don’t just tell her to look over there, but I tell her to focus on that leaf or that rock. It helps her eyes look alive and not like a zombie just looking off into the distance. It really makes all he difference.
5. Have them move. Older kids get stiff. It is almost the opposite issue you have with little ones. With little ones you just want them to sit still for a second…with older kids you want them to just move naturally. Often just by having them walk or even shift their weight back and forth their natural stance comes forward.
Good luck and have fun.
Funny story…her dress is really a women’s shirt from Walmart. I think it worked out great for her. A fun summer look. Also for the photo nerds…these images were all taken with the Sony a6500 and the Zeiss Batis 85 mm.