Taking photos of your toddler especially if it is their first photoshoot can be somewhat daunting. Getting them to hold steady, do the right pose, capture the best moment of their laugh, smile or even just a funny face for family album can be quite challenging. To help out, I have made a short list of things to do to make the process a lot less stressful.
Feed your child before the shoot
A hungry child is not a happy child. It is very important to care for your toddler’s stomach before a shoot. Remember, that unless they’re old enough, they have no idea why a random stranger is pointing this device at them, depending on how friendly their natural disposition is, they might not take this very well. You want to at least mitigate the other factors that might make them even more stressed out and difficult to photograph.
Make sure the child takes a long nap an hour before the shoot
There’s nothing worse than a toddler who is tired. It is important that they get their power nap before the start of a shoot or they might even start falling asleep during the shoot.-except sleeping beauty is the look you’re going for, make sure to tick off this box.
Have your child’s favourite toy around
I once did a shoot where the child smiled the moment he saw his toy barney. It was the cutest thing. Every time his mom waved Barney around, he would giggle. It was one of the easiest photo shoots I ever did and I was done in record time. A toy your toddler loves in the vicinity of the shoot is always a good idea. It’s something familiar that they have grown accustomed to; in an unfamiliar setting, this is well advised.
Change his Diapers before the shoot
Think of it this way; eliminate everything that will make your child uncomfortable during their shoot. They don’t care about the photoshoot, you do. So get your child in their comfort zone, well fed, dry and not tired and you just might get the best shots.
Have a vision in mind.
It is important to know what it is your goal looks like for the photoshoot even if it is a little abstract. This guides outfit choices for your child and gives some form of direction so that you know exactly when the photographer’s job has been done.
Know your child’s comfort zone
Besides having a vision in mind, it is important to know your toddler’s comfort zone so that you both have a good experience during the shoot. This should also guide your vision and outfit choices. Is your child the kind to be most comfortable bare feet? It might be best to go for a concept that doesn’t require him/her wearing shoes.
Last but not least, shooting your toddler is an experience and an invaluable memory. Savour the moment for as long as you can and enjoy the process! They grow up so much faster than you could ever imagine.
Ria Solanke is a Child Portrait Photographer based in Lagos, Nigeria. She is notable for her carefree seeking moments and dynamic use of light in her stills. She finds children particularly interesting and is always on the look-out for moments that are as organic as possible. Her style is simple yet, charismatic. She believes that every child has something unique to bring to an image, she sees it and brings it to life with her camera lens.