Tips and tricks to surviving photoshoots with the tiny teenagers
Luckily as it was an announcement shoot, there was an alternative outfit packed and we gave Cara a quick baby wipe bath and trucked onward. After the shoot, I could see the nerves in Jenna and her Mom's face worried that they spent time and money for pictures that weren't going to turn out. Cara was rightfully a little fussy due to not feeling well but as a social worker, I always adore watching parents navigate their children's moods and behaviours so gracefully and lovingly, which is exactly what Jenna and Chris did.
9/10 times parents plead for my forgiveness that their toddler is not cooperating for the photos and to which I reply every time that kids are not meant to cooperate for photos. They are little explorers, adventurers, and busy body extrodinares. 10/10 times, you trying to soothe your toddler or redirect them makes for the best photos, not them sitting still and smiling. It's not real and that's what I am always craving for my photos and what I want to deliver to you. Raw, real, and people's everyday realities.
As you can see, the photos turned out absolutely great (they're a great looking bunch that are not able to take bad photos) and we had a great story at the end of it. However, from this day on I have found that when people are inquiring about photos, there's a few tips I have regarding toddlers and photoshoots that I have learned while photographing families with toddlers. I would say out of all the photos I have done, a family with a toddler is one of my most popular shoots. If you're interested in some tips to help you get through your shoot with a toddler, please keep reading.
Take a Breath
This is my biggest and most important tip. I've had Mom's in tears a number of times before a shoot. Pictures are an investment and of course you want to love them. The easiest way to like them is to have fun with it. There is nothing that makes a picture better than genuine smiles and laughs. Often people ask me, "what do you want me to do?" to which I'll reply "you're doing it." If children (especially tods) are involved treat our shoot like a fun outing. Play, laugh, joke around, point out cool things in nature, talk about what they're seeing and the list goes on. I can tell you that from experience, my best photos are of families engaging in play and talking about what's going on and "pretending I'm not there."
Let Them Be Little
We've all seen those Pinterest perfect images where you ask yourself how the heck that happened and after doing this for a while, I have an idea of how it did happen. LET THEM BE LITTLE AND EXPLORE. Let them pick up the sticks and rocks and run away from you. Let them point at the water or look at a big leaf. Let them sing and dance and any other ridiculous thing they do. I can't emphasize how much of a difference this will make your photos. The days of traditional photos of kids and smiling looking directly into the camera are over. When booking a session with me, one of the first things I say is let me know if you want a traditional photo of you looking at the camera because I get very minimum.
You know what my favourite pictures are? When they have a snack in their hand and get excited over a rock they found. Or when Dad tickles until they get that perfect belly laugh out. When we're done our shoot, I want you to be like "wow, that was a lot of fun" rather than stressing if your two year old is being cooperative because 9/10 times they're not going to cooperate . It's my job to work around what obstacles occur during a shoot, not yours. I want you to have fun, make not only photos but memories. Find those rocks and sticks and go on an adventure with your little!
Bring a Snack, Food is Life
It's true what they say, time is money. However, I really am not going to care if we go five minutes over because your little needs a snack. I can tell you I have a number of photos that I've had to edit out a gold fish package and that gold fish package has been a meltdown saviour. Toddlers are little teenagers who are trapped in small bodies and can get upset over the silliest things. A snack is a good distraction and can give them the little push they need to finish the session. And referring back to number one, breathe. I'd rather take the five minutes and get the shot for you so you love your photos then rush to get our session done :).
There you have it! Six easy tips to assist you in getting through shoots with toddlers. Feel free to check out my portfolio where I have tons of stuff with the little dudes.