Toddler photography teaches me something new each session. Toddlers are adorable. They’re little, mobile people who are give hugs & kisses… and can sometimes drive their parents crazy. 😜 But their world is filled with sunshine & joy and they love to share it with those around them. Don’t stress yourself out about your child’s toddler session. Here are some tips to help:
1.) Give yourself extra time
You won’t know what mood your toddler will be in for the shoot until you actually get there. All the planning, naps & food that usually work might not work day of. I recommend a 2h session because not only does that give you time for an outfit change (both the planned & sometimes spontaneous thanks to the sometimes messy nature of toddlers). A longer session also means more snack breaks, tantrum breaks & even better, play breaks. It will provide you peace of mind knowing you have more time & a calm parent will encourage any child to be the same. Your child will mimic your attitude: frustrated or stressed parent = panicked child. Happy, playful parent = you guessed it, a joyful child.
2.) Plan ahead
Go ahead & plan for the day ahead of the portrait session. Plan for naps & meals that don’t stir your kids up. Start talking the session up as if it was a play date. “We’re going to met up with Caty today (or whoever your photographer might be) & have so much fun playing & smiling for the camera like movie stars” etc. Don’t start talking about being still & looking at the camera. If you describe it like a chore it will become a chore. Again, your child will mimic your attitude. The same goes for your spouse. If you make a family portrait session sound like a honey-do chore your husband (or wife) will treat it like one & who will mimic his attitude? You’re catching on. 🙂
3.) Manage your expectations
And by that I mean don’t expect your child to behave “perfectly” or to take a picture exactly like the one you like from pinterest. Your child might refuse to look at the camera & that’s ok. It’s the photographers job to engage your child; you just sit there & look pretty. 🙂 Bringing a favorite toy or even better, bring another adult to stand behind the camera to help the photographer grab your child’s attention. The more you focus on your child during a family shoot the harder it will be to capture the shot. (Unless it’s a playful, candid shot.)
Tantrums are okay. Sometimes you have to let them vent their frustrations & cry. This is a part of real life & the stage your child is in. Embrace it: a couple shots in tears might be the ones you cherish the most looking back. Ignore any bystanders: most of them know what you’re going through. Laugh at the situation: try getting in close to your toddler & pretending to cry. You might just have your next Christmas card.
4.) Be prepared for A LOT of movement from your toddler
Toddlers are more likely to sit still if you bring a child chair for them to sit on (no rocking chairs). Try breaking up the still shots with dancing, walking or being tossed in the air to help get your child’s wiggles out.
5.) Have fun
When you start to think of a portrait session as a chore you’re conditioning yourself to not enjoy it. Portrait sessions can be fun! Getting a child ready to leave your house & in the car is work. Worrying about whether they’ll sit still or look at the camera or give their real smile is work. But you deserve to celebrate all the good parts of raising a toddler too! Their innocence, how quick their mood can improve, the frequency of which they give hugs & kisses, the fact that there is no superhero more impressive than mom & dad… all of these things are worth remembering. Come out to your session ready to show of your amazing family & hold you’re head up high. You’re a toddler mom; be proud!
Until Next Time,