Photographing Toddlers and Tips for a successful Toddler Photo Session
Who doesn't love a toddler!?
I love their curiousity, enthusiasm, personality and their unique perspective on the world! I love their energy and the amount of love they are capable of. I have a two year old myself and one thing I do know very well, however, is that they are also as exasperating and frustrating as they are brilliant in often completely equal measures! Caring for a toddler is challenging to say the least and busy parents often find they miss those cheeky smiles and giggles. Some times its just difficult to really savour those precious moments when you're busy mopping up milk and spaghetti hoops from the kitchen or saving the dog from constant torment! That's why having those pictures taken when they are this age is so very important. I love my job as a photographer, but my job is often very challenging and I go into every toddler session never really knowing what I'm walking into, how they will react to me or how cooperative they will be. I know that every child is different and every parent knows how to best prepare their child for a session, but here are tips I've picked up along the way for parents which I have found really help make each toddler session run as smoothly as possible!
1. No Cheese Please! Parents are always very keen that their photo session is successful and of course! They've paid good money and getting the family and/or children prepared for it and to the location can be a real chore! Parents will often spend days leading up the session "preparing" their child, teaching them to smile and pose for the camera. I try not to ask too much from children at this age as instructions can leave them frustrated. In reality, I'd much rather allow your child to play and be themselves. They will be more relaxed and have more fun! Not only will the smiles happen on their own but they will be more natural and more realistic.
Child run off? Not behaving? A bit nervous of the camera? Won't listen? RELAX! I work with toddlers all the time and it is completely normal and expected! Sometimes when put into an unusual situation they don't like, trying to force your toddler to behave is like forcing a cat to drive a car! I know this. Please don't worry about me or whether or not I'm getting frustrated with you and your child. Believe me, I'm not. This is normal. Relaxing and letting them play as normal makes for a more comfortable session for everyone.
3. No Big Deal!
Its good to tell your child where you're going and who you'll meet but try not to "over-prepare" your child for the session. Too much conversation about "having their photo taken" and how they "must behave and smile for the nice lady" tend to make them apprehensive before they even get there! Simply telling them that you're going to their favourite place to play and that there might be a nice lady there taking photos is often all that's neccessary.
4. Trust Me. I spend most of everyday with toddlers, including my own. While they don't always work, I have tricks that I can use to get them on my side. Often children like to see the photo I've taken of them, or I often keep bubbles and puppets in my bag for very difficult situations that arise. As a parent being calm and stepping out of the situation a bit I can can often be the best thing you can do when a toddler has decided to be uncooperative. Toddlers met with too many people focusing on them and giving instructions can cause them to completely shut down and go right into tantrum mode! We don't want that. The key to a perfect (as possible) toddler session is to relax, let them be themselves, give them space and behave as much as possible as though nothing out of the ordinary is happening. The results can be very rewarding and there is nothing more gratifying than presenting a parent with a photo of their child which brings a tear to their eye. These photos are the smiley fun faces we don't get to see enough of, or sometimes simpley don't have the time to really appreciate. The truth is, sometimes they are needed as reminders of why we love them so darn much, even when we're tweezering bits of cheese out of the playstation! I love toddlers!
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