I go through phases. Sometimes I like to do stylized shoots with a theme, lots of props, and a definite plan for what I’ll be shooting. Other times I like to keep it simple, and just let the child’s personality shine through. That’s the direction I took with this shoot. I’ve photographed this little girl since she was a roly-poly newborn, so I knew her sweetheart personality needed no embellishment. Besides, she just turned two. You think she’s standing still for me or anyone else?
With younger children, the sweet spot of two hours before sunset isn’t always possible. It’s just too late for them. So I pick a place that has some open shade, and then we move out of that once the sun goes down a little more. I like to use a reflector for the back lit shots. It lets you preserve the highlights of the background while filling in light on their face. I kept the props simple for her. A toy she brought herself, a pretty painted umbrella, and a chair to keep her stationary for a few shots. Mostly, though, I just let her run. Freedom and summer, that’s what childhood is all about.