Bella and the Bubbles
By Jason Stern
8 May 2009
Sometimes a great idea works with shooting toddlers. Other times, well, it doesn't. Such was the case with Bella and the Bubbles.
Having lots of children was one of the reasons I decided to invest in a good DSLR. That each child would require many portraits and "life captures" motivated me to learn what it takes to be a good photographer.
And afterall, the budgeter in me has to come out a little bit, too. Taking seven kids for annual portraits and group shots and then paying sitting fees and prints could add up really fast, so why not buy the gear and do it myself?
Part of my duties as #1 Dad are #1 Family Photographer. That brings us to Bella, our 18 month old.
I recently saw an image where a child was running through some bubbles and thought, "Cool! I can do that!" Bella's portraits would be the perfect opportunity.
The setting was right: our side lawn, situated at the edge of a forest with nice morning light filtered through pines, oaks and magnolia trees. I borrowed a bubble making machine from some friends and my wife, Andrea, dressed Bella in a cute blue flowery sundress. To make sure she looked girlish enough (her hair is still pretty short), her look was completed with a pretty white hair band.
"Brush the hair!" "Set her over there; yes, a little to the right." "Cue the bubbles!"
But the bubbles and Bella do not mix. She's afraid of them. In fact, she bursts out in tears at the sight of the strange soapy globules floating around her, as though she's being attacked by a swarm of flying insects.
We coax. We prod. We laugh. We say silly things. We coax some more. But Bella is not at all interested. And now her face is red and she's completely interested in anything else except having her portrait taken.
She's not a difficult child. In fact, she's alot of fun to be around. But it is a universal truth that toddlers seem to have a right to be moody. And moody is what little miss Isabelle had become.
"No, I don't think I want that hair band anymore" she seems to say. She can't form many works yet, but we get the picture:
"No, really. I'd prefer to go all natural."
"Are you sure you want to do this, Dad?"
"Okay! Mom. Are we really having to go back to the hair band thing?"
In the end, we probably won't use any of these for her "official" portrait, meaning another photo shoot will be required. Thank God for digital! Even still, I think I got some wonderful editorial shots of our little beauty and we'll have memories to last a lifetime.
This "Family Photographer" gig is definitely worth the trouble!