I tell you what, there's not much cuter than a flower girl or ring bearer walking down the aisle on a wedding day! Don't take my word for it, though, just check out all the cell phones that are whipped out to get a shot of the kiddos walking down the aisle.
There's almost as much excitement from the guests at this moment as when the bride walks down the aisle! But a day can get SO long for these little ones - sometimes starting their day 4-5 hours before they even walk down the aisle. As a photographer, you need to make it your job to get buy in from these kids from the get-go. That way, when they are tired, cranky, and three hours past their nap time, you can still (kind of) get them to (sort of) stand still and (almost) smile during the family portraits after the ceremony. Granted, there's a lot of jumping, laughing and generally making a fool of someone to make the kids laugh, but that buy in is key to getting them to trust you enough to laugh on camera. Some kids, this is easy, and that's usually evident at the beginning of the day.
Sometimes, it's not as easy. Sometimes they are just shy and take a bit longer to get comfortable around you. Hey, I get it, it's a long day, especially without a nap, and there are a TON of strangers setting off the "stranger danger" radar! Take this little one, we'll call her Sasha. For a lot of the beginning of the day, I would catch in the corner of my eye Sasha looking at me; when I would look over and smile at her, she would turn and run to her mom. She is such a cutie, but I could tell that getting that buy in was going to be tough.
Most of the morning pictures looked similar to this - I just had to figure out that hook. Then it hit me, as we were doing the bridal portraits in the inner harbor - she hadn't been looking at me all morning, she was looking at my camera. I immediately went over to my case, pulled out my backup camera and backup lens and asked her to be my "assistant" and showed her how to take pictures. This took all of about three minutes, but it was that hook that we needed. Kudos to Jeff Groleau Photography for catching the behind the scenes for me.
She was shooting while I was, and she loved it! From there, we got along great, and she actually smiled for the camera!
Sometimes it's easy, and you'll get a kiddo who loves meeting new people and naturally works the camera. Sometimes you have to work for it, but that makes the smile all that more beautiful and genuine! One of the many reasons I LOVE being a wedding photographer.