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A Child Photography Pro who’s a Child Psychology Amateur

October 26th, 2012 No Comments

A week back Shutterbug posted a new how-to by  Lou Jacobs Jr.’s under their ‘Pro Techniques’ banner and well they might, for the tips and techniques in The Photography Of Laura Cantrell: A Pro In The Child Photography Field are all pro.

Cantrell’s beginnings are unusual for a photographer: like so many small accounting, auditing and brokerage firm bosses, she simply carried on in her father’s footsteps!  That doesn’t mean she was not ‘meant’ for this profession; her very sentiments reveal that she’s found her place in life: “It is rewarding to watch a mother’s face as she sees her child’s enlarged portrait for the first time.”

Cantrell keeps costumes, backgrounds and props in her studio to the extent that parents can choose one of different sets.  The article is also helpful in providing details about the gear Cantrell, a ‘Canonite’, possesses and uses.

Though Cantrell does not say so expressly, what comes through loud and clear is that a child photography professional also has to be a Child Psychology amateur.  For example, she says: “Teenagers . . . require . . . a lot more flattery for natural expressions” and “A 6-month-old baby will laugh at a puppet . . . .”  These are a few of the many skills one needs to be a top-class child photographer.

I did find one omission in this how-to.  Like adults, children can have pronounced personalities so what works for one child may not work for another.  Also, some children are quite moody; their moods vary from day to day.  For a child photographer, reading a kid’s personality and his/her mood of the hour, and then adapting to it, is key.  Pros at the level of Cantrell certainly do so instinctively; for those who aspire to get to that same level, this reading and adaptation would require a more conscious effort.

Cantrell clearly has a fairly well-developed ‘Style’ – consider this opinion: “I prefer soft smiles because big grins distort features.”  Indeed, her images are on the gentle, pensive, sensitive side rather than exuberant or boisterous.  That said, even though you and your clients may prefer exuberant and boisterous, there’s something to gain from reading this article (and seeing the photos).


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