Nestled amidst the tranquil beauty of Smith Station, Alabama, lies The Greenhouse Venue, a hidden gem that exudes serenity and charm. It was here, amidst the gentle rustling of leaves and the soft, golden hues of a setting sun, that I had the privilege of capturing a remarkable family session. It was my very first time at this enchanting venue, and the experience did not disappoint!

As I set foot on the grounds of The Greenhouse Venue, I was immediately struck by the picturesque beauty that surrounded me. The greenhouse, settled gracefully in the grass and cocooned by towering trees that allowed the warm embrace of the setting sun to filter through was exactly what I had pictured in my mind. It looked like it had popped out of one of the storybooks I read to my children every night. It was the ideal canvas for a family session that promised not only stunning photographs but also a heartwarming connection.

Portrait of a family of four sitting inside the Greenhouse Venue in Smith Station, AL
Portrait of a family sitting on the grass and snuggling their kids in front of the Greenhouse Venue in Smith Station, AL

Before our session I asked Gabbi to fill out a questionnaire about her family. As a mom to two little boys myself I know that sometimes it can take kiddos a little while to warm up to someone new and especially if they are doing something out of the ordinary from their usual routine. A few of the questions on my questionnaire is to describe your children. What are their personalities like? What do they love to do? What makes them smile and laugh uncontrollably? I might be told they are really energetic or I might be told they are really shy and in that case the way I introduce myself to them may change. I may hang back and talk to their parents for a while letting them observe and watch me before getting down to their level and introducing myself maybe even seeing if they would like to checkout my camera and take a few pictures of something fun, like a flower, nearby. For Gabbi, she told me her boy's loved bubbles! So I brought some bubbles with me! It ended up being a fun way to start our session and I also got some really cute candid pictures of the boys playing in the bubbles!

Here are five invaluable tips that I've learned along the way to help photographers connect with little kids during family sessions:

  1. Bring Fun Props: Just like I did with the bubbles, consider bringing along a few props that can engage the children and make them feel comfortable. Balloons, colorful scarves, or even a favorite toy can work wonders in breaking the ice and capturing genuine moments of joy.
  2. Playful Interactions: Interact with the kids in a playful and friendly manner. Get down to their eye level, make silly faces, and engage in playful banter. This helps build a rapport and ensures they see the photographer as a friend, not a stranger.
  3. Let Them Lead: Sometimes, the best shots come when you let kids take the lead. Allow them to suggest poses or activities they enjoy. This empowers them and makes the session feel like an adventure rather than a formal photo shoot.
  4. Patience is Key: Children can be unpredictable, and that's part of their charm. Be patient and flexible, understanding that they might need breaks, snacks, or a moment to settle down. A patient photographer is a successful photographer when it comes to capturing those candid moments.
  5. Capture Their World: Don't be afraid to capture candid shots of kids just being themselves. Whether it's chasing bubbles, playing in the grass, dancing with Dad or snuggling with Mom these authentic moments tell the story of their personalities and the love within the family.

Portrait of a little boy having fun and trying to pop the bubbles at his family session.
Portrait of a family holding hands and walking towards the camera at their family session in Smith Station, AL.
Portrait of a little boy watering the plants at The Greenhouse Venue in Smiths Station, AL.

Back to our enchanting sunset session at The Greenhouse Venue, the kids had an absolute blast with the bubbles. As the bubbles floated softly to the ground they smiled with pure delight as they tried to pop them. As they worked on popping the bubbles I worked on captured the sheer joy on their faces, it's amazing how a little bubble can bring so much happiness! I quickly snapped away turning these candid moments into treasured memories that I knew their parents would look back on and be able to see that pure childhood joy and wonder and be able to hold these as cherished memories.

As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting a warm, golden glow over the greenhouse, I knew we had created something truly special that evening. The Greenhouse Venue had offered the perfect backdrop, but it was the laughter, the love, and yes, the bubbles, that had painted this family session with unforgettable beauty.

In the end, it's not just about taking photographs; it's about creating memories. And when it comes to capturing the essence of a family, there's no greater reward than seeing the genuine smiles and laughter of children who have truly warmed up to you. The Greenhouse Venue in Smith Station, AL, was the canvas, but it was the moments of pure joy that turned this family session into a masterpiece of love and connection.