These 11 Secrets that will bring you success at your next one year old photo session.
It’s true, we’ve all been there (and anyone who says they haven’t – is lying);
mid session, you are covered in cake and near the verge of tears… as some Godzilla toddler has totally thrown us off our game by refusing to be a puppet in our crazy Pinterest-inspired set up. Are you with me??
It’s near impossible to come back from this type of catastrophe as we often try to mentally block it out. Over the years, I’ve experienced my fair share of toddler tantrums and developed a collection of tips and tricks to avoid any situation that could leave me, the photographer, in tears.
Regardless if you’re the on location kind of shooter or a studio-space junkie these tips will undoubtedly assist you in maintaining control of the shoot and achieving those milestone shots you’re shooting for.
- Pre-plan: Find out if there’s a theme, if there’s a no-theme, will there be cake involved, does the baby walk, does mom/dad have some crazy wacky shot they HAVE to HAVE, etc.. Knowledge is POWER
- Prepare: Arrive early + set up PRIOR to your shoot time, test your equipment and have everything ready with intentions to simply insert baby into your setup. (I’ve totally cried over losing that perfect shot, because my ISO was cranked up from the previous nights reception causing a totally unfixable blown out image)
- Keep it quick: 1 year olds are happy for very brief periods of time, they simply will not tolerate a full hour shoot; heck, be ecstatic if you get a solid 10 minutes!
- Have an open mind: Understand that the shot you probably drooled over in your dreams, may not happen, you have to be able to go with the flow.
- Stay on your toes: You may only get one opportunity to get that “money-maker” shot; you know the one that mom would end up buying a larger than life size canvas of. Don’t even blink, just snap, snap, snap!
- Pockets: I always keep noise making, buzzing, annoying, eye catching items in my pocket. They work wonders when I need baby to look up from what they’re doing.
- Move: Get on their level, get above them, shoot them from behind, crawl on the floor; basically make a complete fool of yourself so they giggle and look your way – that’s how you know you’ve probably nailed their session.
- Songs: Chances are if you crept up on one of my sessions you’ve heard outbursts of the Disney Junior type; Youtube every Disney Jr show + learn the intro song… you’ll thank me later!
- Containment: this is the BEST trick. Unless you are amazingly quick on your feet, LOVE chasing tiny little people, and have the clairvoyant ability to predict which way they’ll run/turn next, you’ll want to contain them! Some of my favorite “containers” include; vintage high chairs (seriously get a good sturdy wooden one, paint it, leave it natural, whatever, it will ALWAYS look classy), a giant galvanized bucket or bowl, a wooden crate, a cute bench – whatever it takes to get them off the ground enough that you’re not crawling after them and with this you can usually control which direction they’re facing.
- Bribery: Parent willing, promise them something amazing. I’m not above showing and then giving out giant lollipops to little jam-handed toddlers as a thank you (note: this can backfire, so be sure the item is something you COULD live with in the photo if you have to, because sometimes once they see it, they have to have it!)
But honestly, my best advice is to really be easy going!
Being client oriented before and during your shoot. If little Henry LOVES bathtime consider a sunset shoot in a big shallow bucket where he can play and splash in the bubbles. If mom mentions how much Emma loves to dance, then find or create a location with hardwood floors and bring a stash of tutus.
I think the hardest roadblock we face as photographers is often trying to transform our clients into the people we want to shoot verses capturing the essence of who they are and what interests them.
Guest Blogger: Jes Brown
As a nomadic natural light lifestyle photographer, I strive to capture people and places in the most organic way possible. I believe that with encouragement, technique and beautiful light creating portraiture can be done effortlessly and effiecently. My passion as always been children and families, and being able to really photograph who they are in that moment.