Orange County Family Photography– How to manage a two year old at a portrait session. Everyone that knows me is totally aware that I am obsessed with toddlers. I love the way they talk, I love the things that they say, I love to play games with them, they just totally crack me up. So while lots of photographers shy away from photographing toddlers because it isn’t easy, I think as long as you have a good understanding of what will go on during a toddler session, everyone will remain calm and have fun!
Toddlers usually start out a little shy of the camera– let’s face it, this is a new environment and most of the time the photographer is a stranger pointing a black box at their face while everyone is yelling at them to smile or say cheese. In my experience, this does not work. At Blue Sky’s Studio we typically prep the Mom or Dad before the session and ask if they will just let us quietly talk with their child in the beginning with no expectations, no smiling, etc. A typical reaction would be this, where the little one looks at their Mom or Dad for reassurance.
Once a toddler starts to warm up, the best way to get great expressions is to play games with them. I will often snort like a pig and tell them that is what my doggies say. They will typically laugh and say noooooo, that is what a piggy says. You get the point, they play along and they will usually give you an amazing huge smile like this.
Now is when the real fun starts, I always tell the parents not to worry at this point because things are going to get a little crazy, but these are going to be a true representation of your child’s personality. You know, something like this:
Things to remember about toddlers- You get about an hour to photograph them and then they are usually done. You can bring multiple changes of clothing, but often times they will not tolerate more than three clothing changes. I frequently have parents say to me, “I don’t think you got anything, my child wasn’t really cooperating.” I smile and say, “we will see”. Here is just a few of my favorites from a recent session. When she got a little tired out, big brother was there to give some love and affection and then she was back to her camera ready self!
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