Toddlers can be unpredictable. Their moods change from minute to minute. You may have experienced taking your toddler to the photographer and having a meltdown. We are going to give you a few tips to help you prepare for your toddler session that will increase the odds of getting great images.
Before the Session
- The best time to photograph a toddler is when they are feeling good. That may mean soon after their nap or right after lunch. A hungry and tired toddler usually doesn’t photograph well.
- Bring a few of their favorite toys they can play with. Distraction can be our friend. Make sure it is a toy that will look good in the pictures.
- Limit the number of outfits. I recommend only one outfit per session. Two, however, is the maximum. Most children do not like the process of getting dressed. The more you change their clothing the harder the session becomes.
- Do not bribe the child before the session. Many parents will tell their child “If you are good I will give you a treat.” The child can then only concentrate on getting the treat and wants it now. They no longer have patience to have their picture taken.
- Minimize sibling distraction. Children photograph best by themselves. Where possible it is best to not bring other siblings. The other siblings will inevitably draw your toddler’s attention away from the session.
At the Session
There is a good chance that your toddler will be nervous about the session. It is a new place, new people and they have to sit with all these lights pointing at them. That is enough to scare many adults let alone a toddler. Your toddler needs to feel safe to perform well. On the day of the session be extra observant to your toddlers emotions. Help them to feel like they are in a safe environment and that you are there to comfort them.
- Stay close to your toddler as you arrive and pay attention to how they are feeling. I will greet you and the child to see how the child responds to me. If the toddler feels safe I will usually get a better response.
- Make it an adventure. Toddlers are naturally curious. As you walk into the camera room or location talk to the toddler about what he/she sees.
- Don’t abandon your toddler. We will usually start with a sitting picture to help the child feel comfortable. If you place the child and then leave it may make the child feel insecure. Stay close to the child until the photographer gives you additional instructions.
- The photographer will assess the best way to handle the child. At times it is best to minimize exposure to the parent and let the photographer do the work. At other times it is best for the photographer to fade into the background and let the parent work with the toddler. Follow the photographer’s instructions.
Toddlers can make some of the cutest portraits. They, many times, have not yet learned what you are “supposed to do” in front of the camera. Their expressions can be true and natural. A good photographer will capture the essence of that child and preserve it for future generations.