In one of my recent posts (Family Portraits) I talked about how on a particular photo shoot I had taken candid photos of my kids to let their natural personalities reveal themselves rather than posing them, which I have found mostly results in static, meaningless images. A couple of weeks ago I thought I would try something a little different. I took my three year old to our local train museum, which she really loves. She enjoys climbing into the old trains, pulling levers, pressing buttons and generally exploring the machinery. On this particular occasion I asked her to pretend that she was the engine driver, while my plan was to take photos of her at play.
The idea I had was to explore the possibilities between candid and posed, while never actually going to the extremes. Because she moves around at a lightening pace I was constantly snapping away. However, when I downloaded my images and looked at them side by side for the first time, the image I have attached to this post is the only one that stood out. After wondering what it was that made this particular photograph catch my attention I realized that it was the only one that caught a part of her personality that I had not seen in any of my other, more candid photographs. While the candid photographs I took during my Family Portraits shoot focused on the personalities of my kids while exploring the world around them, this particular photograph captures my daughter enjoying herself at play. She has an extremely mischievous personality and I think the expression on her face helps convey that to the viewer.
So, the lesson I learned from this exercise is that when photographing people, although you are really trying to capture your interpretation of their personalities, it can be achieved in many different ways. It isn’t always the candid opportunity when people are lost to their imagination, but also when they are at play.