Updated: May 3, 2019
TIP # 1- PARENTS, PLAN ON GETTING READY FIRST
Plan on getting yourselves ready first, followed by your toddler, and then your newborn. Spit ups and poopie diapers happen often, so its easiest to get everyone else ready first and end with your new baby. Try to have everyone ready by the time your photographer arrives. I know, that's probably asking for a lot especially with a new baby, but this will allow the session to run on time meaning more time for your photographer to get awesome shots of you and your family.
TIP #2 - DO ALL PHOTOS THAT INCLUDE YOUR TODDLER FIRST
Doing family and sibling photos first is super important for me since I have found that most kids are on their best behavior towards the beginning of the session.
TIP # 3- GET HELP FROM A SITTER OR FAMILY/FRIEND
Once we are finished capturing all photos with your toddler (sibling and newborn, and family photos), we will focus on newborn shots, and then photos of parents and baby, and individual photos of each caregiver with baby. At this point your toddler will be finished, and I have found that it is easiest to have a family member or a babysitter/nanny take over to keep your child entertained. Some families will also give their child a snack and turn on a show or movie to keep their child's attention, while others will allow their child to just play.
TIP # 4- PLAY YOUR CHILD'S FAVORITE MUSIC (OR, WHAT ELSE MAKES YOUR CHILD SMILE?)
Music can really help families and kids relax and have fun. Allow your toddler to choose what songs to play, or simply play your toddlers favorite songs which are almost guarantee going to make them smile. Plan on turning on the music once the session has officially started. If you start it before the session they might already be over it once the session has officially started. I know for my toddler, she is happy and dancing to music for a good 10-15 minutes but then she will start to lose interest. If they're not as into dancing or if music doesn't get them smiling, is there something else that will look cute in photos and guarantee smiles?
TIP # 5- ALLOW YOUR CHILD TO PLAY DURING THE SESSION
The easiest thing to do in order to get your child to cooperate during a photo session is to play with your child. Allow natural moments to happen because these are the special moments that I want you to have to remember from this special time in your families lives. Don't worry about trying to get them to smile at the camera. The sweetest moments and smiles are usually the ones where they aren't being asked to smile or say cheese.
TIP #6- SOMETIMES BRIBES ARE NECESSARY
If you're at the end of a session and you've done everything possible, sometimes you need to bribe your child especially if you need your child to stay still and smile for a more posed photo. There is usually a very short window for bribe photos, so it'll likely have to be a really quick photo and you'll likely need to reward them asap. Save bribes for the end and remember not to give kids treats that will turn their mouths a different color if you intend on taking anymore photos.
Marissa is a top family, maternity, & newborn lifestyle and portrait photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her photoshoots take place on-location in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Hawaii. To book a session email firstname.lastname@example.org or CLICK HERE
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