Curveballs at the Beach…

Peop_MG_6140le often ask me if it is easy to photograph kids that I know. I want to say yes but the real answer is it’s not – I only have to look at my own kids to know who my most difficult subjects are.

Sure, the trust is already established so I don’t have to spend time getting to know them but sometimes apprehension and unfamiliarity can be a Photographer’s friend when it comes to energetic subjects. Once trust is established, cheekiness is at an all time high, and they throw you all sorts of curveballs unlike the unfamiliar children who are often more reserved. Instead, the “Yaaaay, it’s CJ, let’s party” attitude means I have to think MUCH quicker on my feet and come up with more than my usual bag of tricks that captivates my less familiar clients.

This session was no different. It was a Monday evening in December just before sunset and this little family, who knew me very well, had me on my toes. The excitement that sand, sea and seagulls entices in every child was my first challenge as all three kids ran off in three separate directions. I laughed (and maybe panicked a little) as it was like herding cats. I NEEDED some family shots before those clothes got dirty….

_MG_6137With any family session, it’s about finding the right gear. Children are sometimes like cars – you need to figure out what gear to operate in at any given time. Once the kids and I are in sync, everything usually falls into place. But finding that optimal gear was hilariously sluggish with these three rascals who had those curveballs coming. Despite what it looked like to an outsider, the back of my camera was telling me I needed some new strategies. The photos I was getting were not what I was hoping for. When I had exhausted all possible gimmicks, I fell down in defeat infront of the three and said “Gee, you lot are hardwork” and made a funny exasperated noise – like blowing an intentional raspberry – akin to a fart.

Oh the laughter …Oh the joy …

ohhhhh… the photo opportunities….

At last I had stumbled on my gear. That silly, possibly rude, noise was all I had needed to tame these free spirits and off we went.

_MG_6132At the end of the shoot, I walked away with lifted spirits. It’s always so nice to photograph adorable families – familiar or otherwise. It’s thrilling to witness children who are happy, healthy and above all, truly loved as these are the things no one can Photoshop in. But most of all I was happy because I was again reminded why I loved working with kids. Everyday, these little angels teach you so much about life itself, if you let them.

Nothing is ever guaranteed…

There is always a bit more to discover in the most familiar of places…

and more importantly..

Sometimes, best not to over-think it….. keep it simple, keep it real and enjoy the ride.
















About Chamilka (CJ)

Chamilka Jayawardana (affectionately known as CJ to all those around her) is a Professional Photographer based in Melbourne Australia. Accredited with the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP), Chamilka founded CJ Photography in 2010, which specialises in Maternity, Newborn, Children and Family Portraiture. Inspired by her children, her photography aims to capture authenticity, feeling and above all stories - intangible things that can be revisited long after the moment has passed. CJ Photography has since moved into Weddings and Commercial works as well. An equally personal driving force behind her second venture, CJ Photo Escapes, has been her cultural background and her desire to give back to the country she was born and lived in during her early years. Fluent in English and spoken Singhalese, CJ has chosen to combine her love for photography along with her love for Sri Lanka and its beautiful people, to share with the astute traveler this quaint part of the world through the eyes of the lens.


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