Let's face it, toddlers are totally unpredictable! Every outfit, toy, or snack is just a moment away from a total meltdown! The best child can turn into a little demon if they miss a meal or a nap! So here are some things that I recommend to make your session go a little bit smoother!
1. Make sure you schedule your session around naps whenever possible! Studio sessions are a bit more flexible for times and location sessions are typically one hour before sunset (easier in the winter time for small children when the days are shorter).
2. Make sure your little one has been fed prior to your session and bring along a few snacks (nothing that is messy, think cheerios, fruit snacks, crackers, etc...).
3. Don't force your toddler to do something they do not want to do. Is there anyone more stubborn than a toddler? If something is not working we can move on and possibly come back to that a bit later. I usually try to play games with little ones to get them to warm up a bit. Sometimes photographing them playing with their favorite toys make the best photographs! And try to keep an open mind. Yes, you might not want little Jimmy's truck in the photo but Jimmy's love for that truck is something you will want to remember in 10-20 years and you will probably smile when you look back at that photo. If you absolutely do not want something in the photos then please do not bring it with you to the session. Out of sight, out of mind.
4. Lots of bribery! I know, I know... you shouldn't give into a crying toddlers every want but sometimes you just have to make an exception and we want these photos to be fun.
5. Do not bring a lot of extra people with you to the session. Having 3 people standing behind me screaming at the baby can be very distracting. And the one place they will not look when 3 people are yelling at them is at the camera! If you want to help getting your little one to look at the camera then be prepared to sing, dance and stand on your head! But make sure you are standing right behind me and that you are breathing on my neck! Ok not literally but the closer your face is to the camera the better chance that your little one will look at the camera.
6. If you are in the photographs with your little one, resist the urge to look at them to see if they are looking at the camera. Sometimes it just takes that one small glimpse at the camera for me to get the perfect shot and if little Jimmy is looking at me but you are looking down at little Jimmy then the shot has been missed. So you be in position and ready for me to snap away and let me get your little one to look at the camera.
7. I love candid shots of mom/dad and kids! Hugging them, kissing them, tossing them up in the air, spinning in a circle with them... you name it! These not only make great photographs but they make the session a lot more fun for everyone! :)
Click here to see a video from behind the scenes of a newborn session.