Raise your hand if this applies to you.
You’ve booked your family session months in advanced. You’ve shopped your heart out and have the perfect outfits picked out. If you have girls like I do, you have spent HOURS getting hair done. Everyone gets in the car and your finally at the spot. The photographer gets ready to take a photo and complete meltdown!!! That’s right, the TWO year old throws a fit complete with rolling around on the ground and screaming so everyone within a mile can hear.
Let me assure you, you are not the first family that this has happened to and you won’t be the last. So let me give you some tips on how to change the situation and still come out with wonderful family photos.
First thing you need to do is breathe.
If you’ve done your research on your photographer and hired one who specialized in children, chances are they know how to make this work. They’ve brought their game face and are prepared to be a complete fool in order to get that little one to laugh. Parents who stress out and get frustrated with an upset toddler are actually going to cause them to act out more. Trust me, I have a two year old of my own and she knows when I want her to do something. They are little people who are figuring out the world and you just brought them to a NEW place and a NEW situation. Of course they don’t want to sit still and pose.
Number TWO: Don’t expect your toddler to pose!
Do you remember when you were two? Probably not. But I bet if you did you would say, “All I wanted to do was run and explore.” As a parent with a toddler you need to be open to interactive photos, lifestyle photos, and just photos of your kids going crazy. I’m not saying you won’t get that perfect family pose, but coming in with a realistic expectation is going to help the session go much better. Toddlers don’t pose. Toddlers run and they dance, and the play. They are put on this Earth to annoy us to death and then to be extremely cute the very next second. Your job is to interact with them. My job is to capture that.
Number THREE: PLEASE bring the kid snacks and a drink!
I don’t care if they have a schedule and it’s not snack time. If you want a two year old to cooperate, you bring a snack. How do most people potty train kids? They give them a reward for using the potty. Well the same technique applies to photographing toddlers. If you want your two year old to cooperate, give that kid a gummy bear! 😉 Or whatever snacks they normally have. (My kids are sugar junkies).
Number FOUR: Make it fun!
If your little one knows you aren’t having a good time, why would you expect them to be happy? Like I said earlier, they were put on this Earth to play. That is their job. So if you want those real smiles and real photos, then play with them! It may seem silly to you since you have paid someone to come take your photos, but in the end you will have those wonderful memories of you interacting and loving your child. You’ll also have a very worn out two year old that will take a nap afterwards.
Number FIVE and my last tip: Trust your photographer!
When it comes down to it, you should be researching your options before picking a family photographer. You want to make sure that they are experienced, especially if you are paying a a lot of money for it. I am not the right fit for everyone and I will never claim to be. But I am good at what I do, in the field that I specialize in. When clients hire me, they aren’t hiring me because I have a nice camera. They are hiring me because I promise that they will love their images. They are hiring me because of my personality and because we are a good fit. They are hiring me because they trust me. And when you trust your photographer, magic can happen even when photographing toddlers.