Because they're too hard to photograph!!

Posted on October 06, 2013 by Ann Kullberg | 3 Comments

Guess maybe I should start with the question before rushing to the answer...

Back when I made my living drawing children's portraits, I had a rule that I wouldn't accept any commissions for children under the age of 4.  When asked why, the reason I gave potential clients was that a baby or toddler rarely looks like "himself" until he's at least 4.  Since I hoped my portraits would be real heirlooms for their family, I encouraged them to wait until she was 4, at which point she would pretty much look like "herself". 

The real answer to that question, though was that babies are just too hard to photograph!!!

We spent some time today trying to photograph my granddaughter Evey, in hopes of getting a really great shot.  The occasion was an interesting one - local colored pencil artist (and CP Magazine subscriber) Denise MacDonald attended a recent Super Workshop of mine, here in my home.  One day, Denise brought a beautiful little vintage dress to class - a dress she wore herself as a baby, some 60+ years ago!  She was hoping to take pictures of Evey in it, but Evey was out of town that week (taking after her grandma and traveling far too much!) so Denise left the dress in our hands. 

We've had a rare 4 dry days in a row here in the Seattle area, so today seemed like the perfect day for a photo shoot. 

Wow. Colossal fail.

173 photos later, and we didn't get even one great shot.  She didn't like the grass, she wouldn't stand, she wouldn't stay on the rock, she wouldn't leave her shoes on, she wouldn't leave the weeds alone...She was, in short, the cutest horrible model I've ever had! We did get the "Sweet" and the "Adorable" shots...but the other 171 were mostly just "Reality".  My rule is a good one.  If you're going to make a living as a children's portrait artist, the "no-younger-than-4" is a pretty wise idea.  At the very least, wait until they can easily stand on their own!

So sorry, Denise!

Posted in photographing children



3 Responses

Denise MacDonald
Denise MacDonald

December 17, 2013

I ran upon this completely by surprise. My goal was to get a cute little girl to model it for me with no intention of drawing Evey. That’s your pleasure. My cousin’s daughter is now pregnant with a girl so this will be my third great little model. The dress will be retired to her.

Ann Kullberg
Ann Kullberg

October 07, 2013

Julie…that was one of the better “frenetic” one’s of Evey. Most of them were crazy bad! We had to give up in fewer than 10 minutes. She sure had fun with those shoes, though…also a nasty peanut shell she found in the dirt, and a couple of tiny mushrooms. I’m thinking indoors for the next photo shoot!

julie podstolski
julie podstolski

October 07, 2013

Your granddaughter has the Kullberg energy by the looks of it. ‘Cute’ and ‘Adorable’ are lovely but ‘Reality’ is absolutely hilarious. I can see it isn’t easy to freeze frame a firework though. Actually I love that age…and contrary to your advice…DID do a few paintings of my daughters (and nephew) at that age. Perhaps they were more sedate characters than Evey. It looks like my girls’ ‘realities’ were less frenetic than Evey’s.

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