People often ask me how they can prepare for their shoot, or what to bring. And I often am told something to the effect of "my child is hard to photograph" or "it is tough to get my kid to smile." So, here are some tips for helping to make your little kiddo's photo shoot a smooth one:
1. Be sure to discuss the timing. All kids have times of the day when they are more apt to act crazy. Do they get nuts in the afternoon? Then schedule in the morning. Is getting them out of bed like trying to wake a sleeping bear? Schedule something later! These little munchkins seem to turn into pumpkins later in the day (you know, the active, jumping, crazy, kind of pumpkins), so we scheduled them in the morning. And look at what we got!
2. Consider a prop: One of my most cherished photos is one of my little boy and his two favorite lovies: "blanket" and " 'nother blanket." I love to photograph children and their favorite toys. Sometimes, a familiar stuffed toy or a choo choo train can help your toddler warm up in front of the camera. Plus, in 15 years, you will look back and fondly remember your child's obsession with trains, or blankets, or sharks, or whatever.
3. Stay calm, even if the toddler isn't: I want to photograph your child as they are. Sometimes, this means I want to photograph that silly little tornado of a mini-person. I want to raise a gentlemen as much as you do, but the studio isn't the best place to mold your toddler into a polite and upstanding citizen. Let them have that attitude a bit, let them jump up and down, let them be a little bit hyped up. Trust me, your photos will be better for it. I promise.
4. Food and sleep: Be sure your little pumpkin had enough sleep the night before and had plenty to eat. Don't be afraid to bring some snacks and drinks with you, just in case they need a little pick me up.
5. Keep it familiar: When it comes to clothing, if your little one hates hats, tutus, or bowties, don't expect a beautiful, grinning, bow-tie clad toddler photo. We can give it shot, but it really may not work. When it comes to clothes, keep it simple and keep it comfy.
6. Let's chat: Before the session, I want to know what your kid is like, and how you expect the session to go. Is your toddler infatuated with cameras? Does your little girl hide her face every time the camera comes out? Is your kid friendly with everyone, or does it take him a while to warm up? Information like this is invaluable. It helps me to understand how to approach your toddler from the beginning. The more information I have, the better. What does your little bug love to watch on TV? Favorite books? Favorite foods? Favorite songs?
Strongsville, Ohio, newborn, toddler, child and family photographer