My father loves to fish, so I guess it is no wonder when I saw two young children fishing together that I felt compelled to stop and speak with their parents.
I was in Nevada and decided to stop by a park early one morning when I spotted a family enjoying time together by a pond. The two little children were fishing together and I guessed they were brother and sister. They were the same height and looked to be around 4 or 5. When I approached the family I began to tell them about the project, Future American President. I was working on a book project to photograph children all over America as future American presidents. The book is aimed to inspire children to believe in themselves and to let them know they can do anything in life, even become a future American president. As I spoke to the family I discovered the little boy and girl were twins. The family loved my idea and allowed me to photograph their children, so I started setting up right away.
As I started photographing my subjects they proved to be perfect in every way, they took direction well, and show a confidence in their eyes that surprised me. I could see they were really enjoying being photographed. I tried different ways of photographing them, sometimes I had both children looking at me and at other times I focused on the daughter looking at the camera as the brother continued fishing in his little chair. It was important to make my subjects look powerful so I needed to shoot up at them. With the camera at a low angle it makes the subjects look strong and powerful. If I were to receive the assignment to actually photograph the President of the United States I would photography him (or her in the future) from a low angle.
To make the image from a low angle I had to lay in the dirt flat on my stomach. No one said this was a pretty job , so sometimes it requires you to get down and dirty. The entire photo shoot took about 15 minutes before I felt I had enough to select from.
When taking pictures it is important to stay connected with your subjects. I never want to pay too much attention to the screen on the back of the cameras while shooting. With children, (and with celebrities) you can loose them in the blink of an eye if you are always looking at the cameras image display. Try to use your monitor only to look at your first image to make sure the exposure and composure are correct. After that, concentrate on getting the image and giving your subjects your full attention. Magic happens in the blink of an eye, and you can miss that magic moment by looking at your pictures while you shoot.
Another lesson I have learned over the years is that you don't need a zillion shots, so focus on the connection with your subjects and stop once you feel you have something amazing. One powerful image speaks volumes vs a thousand so-so photographs. Put your energy into creating powerful images.
Always Dream Big