As a family photographer in Gilbert AZ, one of the most common things I hear from parents about doing a family photoshoot is the worry about their kids “behaving.” Toddlers are very unpredictable creatures. We have all been there! Anytime you hope for things to go right, they go completely wrong. Well, as your family photographer in Gilbert AZ, I’m here to tell you there is no “wrong.” In fact, I assure you we will have a wonderful time during y
our session. It may seem chaotic at the moment, but follow these tips and you’ll be surprised when you see the sweet, nostalgic moments captured.
Toddlers love to be involved in everything going on! I’m sure you have already noticed this in your daily life. They love feeling a sense of importance and want to feel that they are a big help in the family as well. I’m sure you’ve heard “mama, let me help you with this!” many times!
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “NO WAY!” Because if it were truly up to them, they would show up in a dinosaur onesie with a pink tutu. That may be cute for the right day, but it’s not typically what you want for your heirloom photographs.
So, here’s the catch! Layout a choice of two shirts/dresses that fit within our pre-determined wardrobe guide. While they feel like they have a choice of what they’re wearing, you still have complete control of the overall styling. Just like you, they will be more excited and relaxed to participate in the photoshoot feeling comfortable with what they’re wearing.
Oftentimes, a family photoshoot tends to fall around dinner time for most families. The lighting is just too perfect at this time. The good news is, that your family photoshoot only happens a few nights throughout the year. Bending the rules won’t set you completely off schedule for the rest of their lives 😉 Either have an early dinner or a large afternoon snack. Plus, bring a few snacks to have for the car ride before or after the session.
Be mindful of your snack choices.
Think small bite-size, easy-to-consume snacks like goldfish, graham bunnies, or fig bars- to give you an idea. Sliced fruits(apples, pears) and finger-sized veggies are great ideas too!
Items like berries and other “juicy” fruits may stain faces and clothing.
Avoid chocolate completely, because well-it smears and may look like your child ate something else(if you get my drift). You also don’t want them staining their clothes before the session, especially since typically they’ll be wearing lighter-colored neutrals.
A small toy can give them a sense of security. At this young age, children rely on familiarity to feel comfortable. Having their favorite handheld lovey nearby can help keep them relaxed and also occasionally smile at the camera. If you know for certain that your child may need to hold onto their lovey, try to have one that you wouldn’t mind being in your photos. A small stuffed animal, like a teddy bear or lamb, that isn’t brightly colored is perfect!
Gentle noisemakers are okay, but loud musical toys may be too distracting. We still want your little to be engaged during your session.
Music creates an excellent atmosphere! Having their favorite songs ready to go can help keep them at ease. Their fun-loving songs will bring out laughter and smiles, and slow lullabies will help comfort them if unsettled. Either way, you’ll get beautiful emotive photographs matching their energy.
I like to ask in your questionnaire what songs your children are currently all about. I also have a playlist of songs just ready to go that my own toddler loves as well! We can also play whatever you may already have ready to go on your phone.
Don’t forget to include your favorite songs too!
This is a family photoshoot, and I’m sure what you regularly play will make them happy too! We want to set the mood for the entire family.
I am a huge fan of following your child’s lead. The entire point of your family photoshoot is to capture your family just as you are in this current season of life. While that comes with boundaries, I find it best to let your child explore and be themselves. If you notice your child is having a hard time adjusting, just comfort them. In case you need a little extra help with guiding the little ones, I am a big fan of Big Little Feelings-Discover Big Little Feelings’ Winning the Toddler Stage, where they give you positive ways to work with toddlers. Just as you may be nervous to be in front of the camera, they are too. We will work together to find something that will pique their interest and get them excited. We can play fun, child-appropriate games to help entice them. I don’t encourage forcing your child to stare at the camera and smile. Yes, we will try to get those moments, but I find it works best when I try to get their attention behind the camera. When it becomes forceful, children then retract and they lose even more interest.
At the end of the day, kids will be kids! As long as you keep calm and go with the flow, your family photoshoot will turn out to be successful!
View a few of my favorite images from this golden sunset, family gallery photographed at Usery Mountain!
Let’s start planning your next family photo session! Get in touch by visiting my website.
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