I try not to go into photo shoots with any real pre conceived plans or expectations. I'm not big on formally posed shots, though I always get a few because they're expected. I never say "now everybody smile." I just try to set up situations, and let people be themselves. I want my subjects to have fun. It's about the experience more than the pictures. Then I go into photo journalism mode and capture whatever happens.
Derek and Jill arrived with their children for the family shoot. We walked to where I thought would be a good starting spot at the park, and I decided to begin with them sitting on the ground together. Everything started out perfectly until about my fifth click of the shutter. Lilly decided that she was done with having pictures taken of her, and she instantly became camera shy. She got up, turned her back to the camera, and wouldn't look at me anymore. She hid behind mom, ran away, looked down at the ground, whatever it took to avoid me.
Somehow my whole focus ended up about getting great shots of Lilly. Isn't that always the way it goes. The shy person who doesn't want any attention ends up calling all the attention to themselves. Her plan was to avoid looking at me at all cost, and mine was to beat her at her own game.
Derek and Jill joined the game too. They worked hard at keeping her focus off the camera so I could get good shots. All this time, Evan was completely cooperating. He smiled, played and looked right at the camera whenever it seemed appropriate. He did everything he was asked. I even managed to remember that there were other family members that needed to be photographed as well, but in all honesty, I became totally preoccupied with Lilly.
When I got home, downloaded the images to the computer, and began to process them, I noticed an interesting thing. Not only were there a far greater number of pictures of Lilly than anyone else, but it looked to me like she was the one in control the whole time. It looked like she gave me exactly the shots she wanted me to have like little gifts, but only on her terms.
I've come to the conclusion that this was Lilly's photo shoot, and she simply brought her family along as props. What do you think? Here's a slideshow of the shoot.