© 2014 Aaron Atkinson


Digital cameras have changed the way we take pictures. It used to be that I’d shoot for one great picture per role of film. These days, when I photograph children or animals, I set my camera to snap away at three frames per second. My quality-image-per-exposure ratio has greatly declined, but it doesn’t matter one bit, as the total-number-of-great-shots-per-shoot has skyrocketed and I simply delete the so-so images as if they’d never existed in the first place.

I have a couple of dear friends whose life events over the last five years I’ve had the pleasure of photographing. I shot their wedding, their newborn daughter, her six month, one year, two year and now three year old portraits. When you’ve been around and stuck your camera in a child’s face this often over the course of their short life, they get pretty comfortable with the whole affair. She’s even learned that when she hears the camera go click-click-click that she responds with a grin and a drawn out cheeeeeeeeeeeese.

While all of this is quite wonderful, there are times when her gaze will wander from the lens and Mom, Dad and I collectively try to refocus her attention on the camera.

Last week during our shoot, I click-click-clicked and she cheeeeeeeeeeeesed on queue. And one time when she started to get bored with the whole affair, her Dad softly told her, “If you look right at it, you can see the inside of the camera move every time it goes click.”

She stared.

I clicked.

She squinted and moved closer for a better look.

I clicked.

She moved closer. And closer. And closer. Until she was only inches from the end of the lens.

I kept clicking.

And she stopped smiling. She furrowed her brow ever so slightly. Concentrating with all of her might, her hand rose to her mouth. Her eyes focused hard as she watched the subtle flicker that was making the clicking noise. For a few long moments the only motion in the frame was her fair, blonde hair whispering in the breeze.

Those fifteen seconds were some of the most fun I’ve ever had while taking pictures. It was hard for me not to chuckle in the delight of the moment, for doing so risked breaking her stare. That moment made up for thousands like it in which I’ve had to coax camera shy kiddos into yielding a fleeting moment of cheeeeeeeeeeeese.

And this shot, number 37 of the 42 I snapped in that series, has been my favorite from the moment the camera went click.



  1. Mum
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:51 pm | #


  2. Ryan
    Posted August 6, 2014 at 3:01 pm | #

    What a great write-up! It sure was a fun day and we are so grateful to have such wonderful friends. Thanks Aaron.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>