Boy is this a popular subject. You’ve hit the terrible two’s or maybe the threes and all of a sudden getting pictures of those little darlings becomes areal work of art. You are not alone. I am going to try to help you to do some things that may make these sessions a little easier on your sanity, tame those toddlers (as much as can be expected) and come out with some great family pictures. I have a few examples that you may find familiar below.
First those beautiful little darlings have TONS of energy and now not only do they walk but the RUN. So those great days when you could all sit on the ground and just work on getting that baby to smile are over. Now not only are we trying to get them to smile but we are trying to hog tie them to the rest of the family before they bolt off at a full gallop away from that beautiful setting.
Here is a situation where we have a happy toddler that just doesn’t want to sit still for the camera. Below is a shot of one of my beautiful families that did a great job making their session very special without any tears or hog tying. Basically Mom and Dad chased him all over the park laughing and giggling. We would throw him up, tickle him, kiss him on the cheeks then sit real quick in the setting and Mom and Dad knew to immediately snuggle up to him while he was still laughing. We would get a few shots off then start to play again. It worked out great and we got some really wonderful emotional shots. But just a note to Mom, you can’t spend a lot of time worrying about your hair. By the time you get it in place he’s moved on so if you know you like your hair in front of your shoulders rather than behind make sure to race to the spot first, quickly flip your hair and be ready for Dad to grab him and jump in… 🙂
Now making the escape!
Now for those Mom’s with little people who USED to love the camera and all of a sudden don’t want to have anything to do with it anymore I have two pieces of advice. One – they WILL outgrow it. Below I will show my own daughter with a few shots from the folder I call “The Hand” then one year later where she has asked on MULTIPLE occasions for a special photo shoot. Forgive some of the lower quality images as they are iPhone shots.
Here is her latest photoshoot request. She decided the background, outfit and subjects! Bad Mommy hasn’t finished editing it yet! XO
The other option is again the play scenario except in this case I do the playing. I have been photographing this handsome little man since he was a newborn. He’s always been the best baby model. But bam, age two hits and this little guy didn’t want to have ANYTHING to do with pictures until I started throwing leaves on my head. Then he was all smiles laughing at me AND the camera. Now this is not the easiest way for me to take pictures so clearly some didn’t make the cut because I was either moving too fast or out of focus as I tried to pull the camera up quick to catch him BUT the point is we DID get some from a child who wouldn’t have given us any. But only 4 months later here he is smiling perfectly and even sitting still for a while because he’s learned the value of earning a toy car!
Yea… This one got photoshopped! 🙂
Look at this perfectly smiley, sitting man!
For my last family they had 3 children ALL under the age of five. If you are having a tough time with your one or two try three! I came prepared for this shoot. I knew this family well and the kids are all sweet and FULL of energy so I needed to use some creativity as all three might not think throwing leaves on myself was so funny. I brought out a ton of props and toys for us to just have one big play session. And boy did we have fun. So if you can’t wait this is another option. Just know you might not have as many traditional pictures. Here are some from the session that I just love…
Additional advice that may be helpful are pretty simple, however under the stress of getting ready for a portrait shoot you may forget. 1) Make sure they have snacks. They aren’t happy if they are hungry. 2) Make sure that adorable outfit you love doesn’t feel itchy or uncomfortable or they will be tugging at their clothing or crying the whole time. 3) Out door portraits are dependent on available light and despite what most people think the middle of the day is the absolute worst light. The best light is somewhere up to 4 hours before sunset in summer, 3 hrs in fall and 2 in winter. So if you know that’s a bad time for your toddler due to his or her normal nap schedule either try holding them for a late afternoon nap or letting your photographer know so they can find good shade options. Those may be a little more limiting but a happy baby is better than pictures of a crying baby in an open field of wild flowers.
So with that I hope that makes you feel a little more normal. You are certainly NOT alone. And if they are in that smiling phase “I want my picture taken Mommy” go ahead and set up that photo session before is disappears!
From one Mom to another. Diane McKinney