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Session Wrap-Up – 3 siblings in the forest {lots of luscious bokeh ahead!}

When I found out that these three gorgeous children were being brought from three hours away for their mini session with me, I was pretty honored. So here is the session round-up with a few shots worth mentioning.

  • Camera: 5DmkII
  • Lens: 50mm f/1.2
  • Weather: slightly cloudy, 3 hours before sundown
  • Processed: Florabella Luxe II

I started out with little guy ben. We all hiked a little ways into the forest to get away from people and find a clearing where we could settle down for a bit. The light coming through the trees behind him was luscious and made for an idea backlit scene in which for me to work. So I started asking him things like "if your mum was a Star Wars character, which one would she be?" I think he said Jar Jar Binks :)

Another of the first shots of Ben. I always say that you can break the rules once you know how to master them. And so it's really important to know why/how to use the rule of thirds in composition. But once you do, you can then successfully break the rule. I like to sometimes photograph children dead-center. I feel that a photo like this is saying "Hi, I'm Ben. This is me." with no frills or anything complicating the experience of getting to know Ben!

Again, composed dead-center for a reason. "World, meet Amie. Amie, meet the world." I also got this shot while asking her silly questions. I think I asked her to close her eyes and think of her favorite candy and then pop her eyes open and tell me what it is. I shot from slightly below because I wanted her to be dominant and I just think that she's so.darn.cute

Now that you've met Amie and she's established that she's the boss, this is a more vulnerable, intimate portrait of her. This is her "yea, I'm sassy but I'm still only little" shot. I love braids as you know and I love this simple portrait which I composed slightly off-center. I get a shot like this by setting my subject in their space and then holding my camera to my eye while walking around them. I tell them "don't move, just follow me with your head." And then there's a moment where you know you've got it and hopefully only need to snap once.

And then we have James who is so much like my Elijah. Extremely smart, hard to get to stop talking. You either have to fit into James' mold or get the heck out cuz he ain't gonna sit and pose for anyone! A very free spirit who loves climbing trees. So when I turned around after photographing Amie and he was in a tree, I just went with it and the bokeh behind him turned out amazing. Of course, shot very nearly wide open and backlit. I love the way the light in the forest twinkles in his eyes and that laugh is genuine.

Nothing about James could be forced. I had to capture what was real. I think we were talking about Star Wars here and he said his brother would be Chewbacca.

Photographing kids together ain't easy. So here's where we started and it was a little stiff...

...so we let off some steam with some running...

...and ended here! Gorgeous kids, super fun session and so many laughs.


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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=514363639 Rachel Lynn Bennett

    Thanks for sharing things you said!! I’ve not had much experience with children in general and never know what to say. Very useful!

  • steph_lawless

    the final shot of all 3 kids is beautiful!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10516253 Jennifer Michelet Vititoe

    Thanks for sharing.  I love your process for getting the kids to relax and capture thier true selves. Are thier any blog post on some of the silly games you try to play with them to get them to laugh? 

  • Lisa Bolinger

    Wonderful tips!  Thank you!

  • http://www.xavierheroult.com Xavier Héroult

    Nice session (and tips) ! You finally bought the 50mm f/1,2… Which produced these nice bokehs ! (yes, I love bokeh ;)


  • bobbie cohlan

    love the photos and the bokeh..wondering when you shoot these and use the 1.2 lens what is the actual f stop that you shoot at? 

  • Anonymous

    Hi there! These would have been about f/1.8-f/2.5+

  • bobbie cohlan

    i know that lens is expensive… do you really love it? i love the bokeh you get…i have the 1.4 what do you think is the difference and is it worth it?

  • Anonymous

    Hi I talk about it here –> http://www.elizabethhalford.com/2011/10/12/my-love-affair-with-glass-every-single-lens-ive-ever-owned/

  • http://www.byrayleigh.com Rayleigh Leavitt

    I LOVE the details you give about the shoot.  I love hearing how you get the expressions you get and how you get them to liven up.  Thanks so much for sharing!!!!