Yes…I take a lot of photos of my kids! I’m currently organizing my iphoto library that currently stands at 43,786...just me?
I also do a ton of photo shoots. I’ve done one for each child’s birthday….hell – I even did a birth journey shoot for AJ…so he’s been captured since out the womb! Maternity shoots, holiday photos, even Mother’s Day shoots. It helps that I’m married to a photographer…actually – that has nothing to do with it. He’s no help.
I just love the idea of seeing my kids’ personalities flourish and seeing their growth thru photos. And until they tell me they’re over it…I plan to keep it going as long as possible. So after taking part in so many of these sessions – I’m sharing my thoughts on what helps our sessions go smoothly – as much as possible.
Here are my 10 tips for nailing an epic toddler photo shoot:
1. FIND THE RIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER: Find a photographer that you AND your kids are comfortable with…and that may be hard if this is your first go around…but there’s a lot you can tell in a photographer just by having a simple conversation with them. I personally love going with a woman (no shade to my husband) but there is a particular sensibility they have with kids – especially if they have their own. They know how to deal.
2. PICK THE RIGHT TIME: Find the right time to shoot. Our go-to time has been around 4 PM. Especially in Miami when we shoot outside..we don’t want to be too hot..and the lighting is usually perfect at that time. Plus, it turns into an event because we always end up going to dinner together as a family afterward – which is a nice treat. Hey – you have hair and makeup done anyway – might as well put the look to use.
3. DON’T FORGET THE NECESSITIES: Comb, brush, hair clips, etc….there’s always a need to fix something up on set.
4. BRING PROPS: Use some of your kids’ favorite toys, books, blankets for the shoot. It makes them feel more comfortable, but it also allows you to capture that item for a lifetime….long after it hits the Goodwill pile.
5. SNACKS, SNACKS, AND MORE SNACKS: Make sure you feed them right before the shoot – but bring plenty of snacks along the way. Food sometimes is the cure to fussiness so you want to have their favorites close by. Don’t be surprised if snacks become a prop in the photo…just roll with it. I did a shoot with Bobbi that featured goldfish cookies.
6. CHANGE OF CLOTHES: Whatever your child shoots in – they probably won’t want to stay in. So make sure you have comfortable clothing that they can switch into. Speaking of clothes…it’s always cool to shoot in two different looks…it allows for variation…so I usually will do a themed look or dressy look – followed by a casual look. More bang for your buck.
7. CURATE A PLAYLIST: As in – their favorite Disney songs. The same way music affects our moods as adults…same for kids…so download the latest Disney movie soundtrack – and watch your child light up for the shoot. The soundtrack for Sing, Beauty and the Beast and Trolls are my go to…but my daughter also loves Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas song – so I’ll throw that on to get her to perk up and flash that gorgeous smile of hers. Even in February.
8. CONTINGENCY PLAN: If you plan to shoot outdoors, make sure you have a Plan B…as Andre 3 Stacks so eloquently sang – “but you can’t predict the weather.”
9. PACK YOUR PATIENCE: Your little one will absolutely act like a nut. Just roll with it. Sometimes the best photos are the ones that capture real moments. So if you’re little one is acting up – let them be! Capture the moment of your life, cause that’s what is real. If you end up not getting that perfect shot…as long as you and your family are in it – then its picture perfect!
10. VIDEO: I always like to whip out my iPhone to shoot behind the scenes of what’s happening. Or I’ll ask one of my family members to come with us to do just that. Photos are incredible – but there’s nothing like seeing footage from the shoot and to have it for your archives.
MOST IMPORTANT TIP:
ENJOY THE MOMENT: Be goofy…be candid…be free…this is a moment in time and it should be fun for the whole family. Don’t lose sight of that!