This Spring, she shyly stood in her little spot and would only mumble responses to any of my happy questions.
I noticed after several minutes that her shyness had turned very timid. Her class soon left to go back to their room and a new class came in and waited. I set down my camera and went over to talk with her for a few more minutes to see if I could pinpoint her happy button and I noticed she almost had tears in her eyes. I simply asked “Are you okay?” Which prompted this conversation:
“oh, I am so sorry, Sophie. Are you scared of me or scared of my camera?”
“I’m scared of pictures.”
We talked a little more and I told her I wasn’t going to make her stand here and smile if she didn’t want to and she was welcome to go back to her class if she wanted to. And she did. The last thing I want is for a child to have an unhappy experience with any photographer. I find joy in documenting the joy in your life… not forcing grins that never really existed.
I finished the rest of the students in the preschool and before packing up my things made my rounds to each of the classes to double check we had photographed everyone. I went in to her class and chatted with her teacher as the students finished their lunches and Sophie was laughing and giggling and talkative with all her classmates! So I joined in and she and I laughed and talked for a few minutes together with her classmates. I made the comment that her eyes were so sparkly when she smiled! Just like my sparkly backdrop where we did the pictures! She didn’t remember the backdrop and wanted to see! So she and I skipped down the hallway together to go see how her eyes sparkled on my backdrop! (Yes! I really did skip with her as we held hands on our way to the other room!)
She stood in front of my set and I snapped a quick picture with her big smile and then showed her the back of my camera. The catch-lights from the flash in the corner of her eyes gave a nice little sparkle which lit up her world and we took several more images.
Sophie needed two things 1) no audience… I really think that was her main concern in the beginning… everyone was watching her; and 2) compassion with patience.
I have been told by many mothers lately during newborn sessions that they are just in awe of how patient I am as I snuggle and speak softly to their fussy babies as I get them to sleep.
There really is not much difference between a baby, toddler or preschooler when it comes to new things. Sitting/standing in front of a camera and big lights is new. Most kids under the age of 6 will not walk right up and smile unless they trust you (and how often do you trust a complete stranger in the first minute you’ve said hello?)
Patience and Compassion along with friendliness are the best combo for getting little ones to grin. And lucky for me, these 3 things are my cup of tea.
Class dates have been set for Elise Breeding’s pinhole camera photography class.
“It’s something I’ve done with neices and nephews, and the uniqueness of these cameras just fascinates me!”, Elise says. “I want to share that with kids and families in the area and hopefully make this an annual event.”A Pinhole Camera is a fully functioning homemade camera in which the lens for the camera is created with a tiny prick on a piece of metal, creating a pinhole through which light reflects on the film inside the camera. Elise has created cameras using a round oatmeal container and shoe boxes, but for this class has purchased kits in which students will use a roll of 35mm black and white film.
“Film is something lost on this generation. It’s just an archaic piece of history for many of them! As a 3rd generation photographer, I grew up with a love for film and a love for processing and developing it. My Bachelors degree in Photographic Arts even required that I know the ins and outs of a darkroom.” In this one day class students, will receive a quick lesson in how a camera works, and then take their own new pinhole cameras outside to practice using them.
The students in classes catered towards late middle school to high school age students will build the cameras themselves. The younger students and family classes will have the cameras built and loaded for them.
The final result will also be a lesson in patience for some people. We live in such an ‘instant gratification’ era. After the class is complete the film will be sent off to be developed and prints will be processed. Everyone will be contacted the following week to let them know when they can pick up their images and negatives. The class will be held in Elise Breeding’s home in Piedmont. Parents are welcome to stay and enjoy the class with their students. Class sizes will be small so each student can receive some one on one instruction. And due to the nature of the pinhole camera, most exposures will be longer than your average click of camera button. Which warrants the opportunity for creativity.
We are only accepting 4-6 students per class. Reserve your time soon. Dates in July may be added depending on availability and demand. If you would like to request more dates added to the summer program, contact Elise and let her know!