Three Boys + Photos = ?

It was a beautiful fall day. The sun was shining and the temperature was warm. Three boys along with their parents arrived for their annual family photos. Yes, you heard correctly, three boys all under the age of 10. Sounds like a recipe for disaster or better yet some of you may be thinking “wouldn’t want your job”.

However, I actually enjoy sessions like this. They don’t pose perfectly or all look at the camera at the same time. Sometimes you get a few frowns instead of smiles or with three boys they might simply want to mess with each other. Its the challenge of it all I enjoy. The imperfect yet perfect setting for family photos.

Let me explain what I mean. My niche in this photography world is not the overly posed with lots of set up time and lights. No, my style is much more laid back, candid and incorporates lots of laughs. The real version of people. Some of my favorite shots over the years have been the unexpected.

For this particular session mom simply wanted updated family photos to include in her yearly Christmas cards. Dad was along for support and the boys, well they were here because they were told to be.

With that being said, I know from the beginning I have to allow for their playfulness. I use them for test shots so they can make silly faces and be themselves. Then I move in with the bribe. “O.K. guys lets get a few good photos with mom and dad then I know where there is a playground nearby. How does that sound?”

fall family photos at Fort Harrison State Park

The boys clowning, while I’m making sure my settings are correct for the golden shot.

In this case, they were willing to cooperate. I also enlisted the two older boys to corral their youngest brother. At the age of 2, he has the attention span of 3 seconds. The older boys felt like they had an important job all while taking the pressure off mom and dad.

Look how cute they are!

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About halfway through the session, I wanted to focus on mom and dad, giving the boys a break from the camera. Our location was perfect for this. Fort Harrison State Park located on the northeast side of Indianapolis has plenty of green space away from parking areas. Allowing three boys the freedom to run and play while I’ll snap a couple photos of just the parents.

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Now that the boys had a break, I rounded them up for the final push of photos. Letting them pick the next spot and how they want to be arranged. You see giving control to the kids actually works in your favor, in this scenario. I wouldn’t suggest this if you were at the supermarket. Can you imagine what your cart would be full of at the checkout?

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Finally, we wrap things up at the playground. Remember I promised this early on and believe me they have not forgotten. Instead of putting the camera away, I kept it by my side just in case. Little moments pop up that are unexpected and I want to be ready. Plus I am known for “just one more photo, please”.

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In this case, I snapped one final photo of Abby and Jake by the car as dad was loading up the other two. It turned out to be one of my favorites of the day.

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