When I think of toddlers, I immediately think of that movie “Up” where someone says “squirrel” all the dogs lose focus and are off. They are fully engaged exploring the world around them. The smallest thing like an ant hole can hold them up for hours. Or they move from one thing to the next in two seconds flat. As a parent, this is one of the coolest experiences, because you find this new sense of love for the simple things in life. But when the time comes to sit them down in front of a camera, it can be the most stressful thing a parent can go through.
You are dying to capture the beauty in your children and you just want them to sit still and smile every moment you put a camera in front of them. The only problem is… this goes against their nature completely. Surprisingly, this is why I absolutely love taking pictures of “littles.” You never know what you are going to get when you go into a session. By embracing their natural tendency to be playfully all over the place, the images we get will melt your heart-strings.
Parents, let me ease your worries. Here are a six tips that can help you prep your child for a stress-free photography session.
- Schedule 2 hours. I know, I know. You are thinking, “My child will never last for a two hour session.” Let’s change that mindset and think about it this way. The more time we have together for your session, the more breaks we can give your child throughout and they will in turn get more comfortable with having a camera in their face. My favorite pictures are usually towards the end of the session because littles get to the point where they are just playful with me and their smiles are easy to get.
- Get to know you time. Another added benefit of having a longer session is that we will have time at the beginning to allow your children to play with me and get to know me. This garners trust between the two of us and allows them to feel at ease. I may have felt like a stranger when we started, but quickly became their friend right from the beginning.
- Bring their favorite toy. If we are having a hard time getting your little to look at the camera, this is an awesome trick. By allowing me to hold their toy/play with it while I shoot, I will grab their attention quickly and will get some genuine smiles. One thing to keep in mind with this, though, is to keep this toy hidden from them. This way they won’t know it is there and will not want to hold/play with it the whole session. It will be a nice surprise for them if we are really struggling. J
- Bring food and drinks. If your little one is like mine the comment, “I’m hungry” happens every hour or so. Make sure to pack some easy to hold snacks that won’t cause a mess for your session and you’ll be a rock star momma/daddy.
- Fit in a nap beforehand. Unless it is a cloudy day, the perfect “dreamy” light happens at the end of the day. Knowing this, naps are vital to having a happy little through to the end of the session. Plan to have their nap end about an hour before you have to leave. This way they have time to wake up, get dressed and play before you guys are out the door.
- Hype up the experience. Days before the session, start hyping up the excitement that you guys are going to get your pictures taken. The more excited they are for this session, the better. It’ll be something they look forward to versus being scared of when we begin.
I hope these tips helped you plan for your next photography session. Just know that behind the camera, I see beauty in the crazy that is happening in front of me and will do everything I can to capture the special moments you see all over your Pinterest page.
Not sure how to style your family for an upcoming photo shoot? Check out our 5 Tips to Look Your Best in Pictures.