Zeffler Photo 101: Ages of Zeffler

Hatch 075Kids are more fun to photograph than adults. Sorry adults. You act self-conscious, have a fake smile and are too worried your kids are saying “cheese” to ever just enjoy the time with your family. Let the photographer worry about all the shirt collars and correct photo exposure.

That doesn’t mean I don’t like you, adults. I actually think I have a knack for getting adults to relax and enjoy themselves. It just means kids pose unexpected potential. It’s more fun not always knowing what is about to happen right before the shutter clicks.

Each age provides its own challenges and opportunities. Here are my impressions so far, by age ranges:

Newborns – It’s best to photograph them as soon as possible, when they are squishy, pliable and sleep 22 hours a day. It seems the longer you wait the more they develop a mind of their own (see: Teenagers). It seems the popular thing to do with newborns is put them in silly hats and surround them with a lot of fluffy. I still prefer this shoot, and not because I’m particularly attached to the baby (but she is the most brilliant and beautiful baby girl in the world).

lucha libre cowboy bootsTwo to Four Years – It’s tough photographing a child that can’t sit up, stand or walk, so it is wonderful when they are able to do all three. This age is fun because the kids are largely unaware of the photographer and willing to adventure into whatever is going on around them. My best advice is for parents to get out of the way, or dig in and play. Props help, a lot. So does a little bit of dress up.

Five to Nine Years – Kids at this age tend to dislike photos, at first. But they blossom if you give them something to do and a bit of freedom to discover their own photo ideas. Parents set the mood for these kids right away. Parents set the mood every time, but this group is most likely to follow. Younger kids drum their own drum, older kids have the rebel streak. There is a difference.

downtownphoenix 552Ten to Sixteen Years – Teenagers these days are quite comfortable with photos. I blame Facebook. My goal is to make them look cooler than all of their friends. Teenagers respond to that well.

High School Seniors – Not sure what it is but high school seniors are always poised, confident and excited about photos. It’s as if for 9 months they are given magic powers to look good in every photo taken of them. I don’t think those powers existed 12 years ago when I graduated high school. I won’t say more than two words – brown sandals.

Adults – Calm down. You look great. Your kids look great. Have fun and don’t worry about anything. I only give you the best photos.

james 101I’m so proud of how many comments I get at the end of a photo shoot of people saying, “That was a lot of fun.” It’s very gratifying to hear it from Dad, who is usually the most reluctant and typically has much “better things” to do on a Saturday.

It’s just great to break some preconceived notions.

Check out my portfolio link to see photos from all of these age ranges and get an idea of what works. Or read more of the Zeffler Photo 101 series to get more insight into what we do.

Comments. Like digital high-fives, or something.

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