I recently had the honor of being the school photographer for my daughter’s preschool, Midtown Montessori. The school’s amazing director Donna gave me complete freedom to photograph the children however I wanted to, so we skipped the cheesy backdrops and contrived poses, and instead just spent time with each child around the bamboo in their play yard. I definitely think that this casual approach allowed each child to relax and reveal their personality in a more vivid and honest way. I tried to get at least one genuine smile per child, and that meant using all of the wild imagination, antics full of silliness and reverse psychology that I could muster in order to get that smile to emerge from the shy, the stubborn and the downright defiant characters. They had me cracking up while they pretended to be panda bears eating bamboo or one-eyed pirates or just happy, giggling souls. It was such a refreshing change of pace to sit at my computer and edit these images, as I just stared into their perfectly pure faces and reflected on the beauty of childhood. These kids are all getting such a wonderful start in life and it was so fun for me to get to join them for a while. I love photographing weddings, but photographing kids will keep you young.