I was nervous at the idea of having a portrait session in a studio with my two-year old. What if she refuses to cooperate? What if she has a meltdown? I imagined the worst-case scenario: we leave our session with snapshots of a mother and daughter doing the ugly cry.
OK I’m being a bit dramatic. But I never would’ve thought that having my toddler in an unfamiliar room for an hour (equal to 12 hours in toddler time) with a stranger, would result in something so perfect.
Below, I share a few photos from my session with Images by Bethany, as well as tips for photoshoots with toddlers.
How To Keep Your Toddler Happy During Photoshoots
1. Follow your photographer’s lead: Bethany provided us with pre-shoot guidelines that really helped us prepare for the day; she handled the tougher toddler moments with grace; and she walked us through the entire process. Seeing that she is a professional at photographing kids and a mother herself, it’s no surprise that following her lead had such beautiful results.
2. Bring snacks/treats: I brought along cashews nuts, Tiana’s favourite. The treat served well as a distraction and pick-me-up when she was starting to flex her toddler muscles.
3. Dress her up in a fun and familiar outfit: you don’t want to deal with your toddler refusing to wear the perfect outfit an hour before the session. In the days leading up to our appointment, I made sure to give Tiana the opportunity to fall in love with her new Custom Creation tutu, by having her wear it during our signature living-room dance sessions. Naturally, she associated the tutu with the good times we had. Getting ready was a breeze.
4. Bring along her favourite toy – Tiana brought Lulu, a doll that her grandmother made for her when she was born. Lulu was comforting, a great companion, and such a great addition in the portraits.
5. Create a connection between the photographer and your child: Bethany was great at communicating with Tiana and convincing her that they’re buddies. However, if your toddler takes a while to warm up to strangers, one way to create a connection between them is to let her give a small gift to the photographer when they meet (ie. a handmade card). This will likely get a toddler to let down her guard; toddlers enjoy making people happy.
6. Don’t push the pose: we can’t help but dream of all the possible cute poses the night before. Let the photographer know what you have in mind before the session and then, leave it up to the professional. Bethany was great at capturing Tiana in a pose.
And she was equally as amazing at capturing the candid moments.
7. Make it a game – dance. Tickle. Play peekaboo. Making it fun and light-hearted will keep your toddler smiling.
8. Choose a photographer that captures emotion: The I-could-squeeze-the-love-out-of-you shot is the perfect visual representation of our mother-daughter love. I will treasure this forever!
GIVEAWAY: Win A Free Session + 8 x 10 Print With Images by Bethany
One lucky family will receive:
- 1 hour session on location or in studio.
- Online viewing gallery for 1 month.
- In-studio ordering meeting, 2-3 weeks after the portrait session.
- One 8×10 print of your choice
You only have till 4 pm on December 21, 2012 to enter.
Click to enter the giveaway. Update: a winner has been selected!
Any other ideas on how to keep your little ones happy during portraits?
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I'm Nat Nanton, founder of Tutu Mama. Becoming a mother has made me commit to living my greatest life. If you can relate to that, you're in the right place.
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