Even though my two sons are the most-photographed children ever to walk the face of the earth, sometimes they turn on their dear, old, photographer mom. “Stop taking pictures!” they’ll say, as they walk away from me. Stop. Taking. Pictures?!? Perish the thought! One of these days they’ll be glad that dear, old mom snapped so many pix and documented their childhood. But what do you do if your subjects are like my sons and won’t cooperate?
Sometimes you have to be persistent and very fast. Oh, and sneaky! Yes, sometimes very sneaky. For example, the boys were out playing with a small ball on the driveway the other day. They were bouncing the ball against the house and talking. It was a wonderful brotherly-love moment that had “document this!” written all over it. So I grabbed my handy, dandy Nikon D300 with my Nikon 17-55mm lens on it and walked out to the driveway. The minute I pulled the camera up to my almost-tearful face (brotherly love doesn’t happen all that often in our family), the #2 son came over and pushed me away.
“No pictures, Mom,” he demanded. Totally uncooperative. If he ever becomes a celebrity, he’ll be an expert in shooing away the paparazzi.
Hmmm. Undeterred, I walked back into the house and headed out the back door. There’s a hole in the fence bordering the driveway, and I could just see the boys together. Time to act like the hidden paparazzi!
I clicked away, not getting the greatest results but happy I still could capture the moment, when the #2 son alertly looked in my direction. Oh, oh . . . busted! He grabbed his water bottle and started running towards the fence, while I skedaddled back into the house. Whew! That was a close one!!
I outsmarted the boys a few days later when they were together in the dining room in another rare brotherly-love moment. The #1 son has joined a fantasy baseball league at his high school (yes, the first “activity” that my junior has participated in at school; what a proud moment for mom!). His younger brother is an expert at fantasy leagues, so #1 called in #2 to help him at the computer. Was this something to be documented digitally? Need you really ask? So I got sneaky. I grabbed the Nikon D300 and quickly walked through the kitchen into the laundry room where I popped on the flash and set the aperture to get them both in focus. I did a quick, surreptitious focus and clicked. They both looked up after, but then both returned to what they were doing. Success!
Is this an invasion of my sons’ privacy? What privacy?!? You live under my roof, you get pictures taken of you. That’s the bottom line in my household. The mom has spoken!
Nothing to smile about
So now you know how to work with those uncooperative subjects (to summarize: Outsmart them by being sneaky!). But what if your subject never likes to smile? That describes the #1 son to a T. He has a beautiful smile to go along with his gorgeous blue eyes, but he likes to keep it to himself.
When #1 got his “real” driver’s license in the mail, of course I needed to document the moment. I posed the boy in front of the family minivan that he drives (isn’t he cool?), had him hold up the license, and asked him to smile. Total futility, as always. Hmmm. So I told him we were going to take one more picture and asked him to say “horseradish.” Try it! You can’t help but smile. And he did!
So if your subject refuses to smile, try having them say a funny or unusual word. Sometimes it does the trick! Or you could just ask them to “show those guns!” Boys love showing off their muscles; well, at least the #2 son does.
The momarazzo can take all the photos she wants, as long as #2 is calling the shots!