Let's face it - for many folks, photo sessions can be stressful. Mom's are the ones who usually schedule the session because they have the vision of how beautiful their family will look in that portrait hanging on their wall. Its up to them to get everyone's clothes picked out, coordinated, organized, and then make sure everyone is cleaned up and ready to go at the right time.
Now picture that you are 2 or 3 years old. Happy to be doing your own thing, playing with your toys and then all of a sudden your nap or play time is interrupted and you go to this strange new place and all of a sudden you are having to stand still for heaven's sake and look this way or that. And look at all the things you'd really like to go explore and touch, but no, mom keeps telling you no. And to top it off, she put these new clothes on you that aren't as comfortable as your pjs and now you are thirsty and a snack sounds pretty good too. This is just a bit too much stress so crying sounds pretty good about now! What's a mom to do??
It can be all in a day's work for a photographer but I want to share with you some things that might help make it a more enjoyable experience for everyone:
1) The child would pretty much rather be anywhere else at that moment. Be patient and keep calm.
2) Most children 4 and below have short attention spans and they really don't follow posing instructions, at all. Let your photographer get to know your child and they will work with the child to capture their true personality.
3) Trust your photographer and follow their instructions. They will want to establish a rapport with your child and that may take a little bit of time. Sometimes the first few images turn out really well, but sometimes, it takes a number of attempts before the child gets comfortable enough to just be themselves.
4) It is not necessary for the child to be smiling in every image. Many times, a soft expression can be a better representation of them and makes the image more timeless.
5) Don't try to pose your child or attempt make them do anything, unless the photographer asks you to help in some way. Sometimes your good intentions backfire.
6) The child is always going to look at whoever is talking to them and that can take their eyes away from the camera. So take your cues from the photographer - they may just want you to be a silent observer or they may want you to help get your child's attention.
7) Bring snacks and a beverage for your child. Modeling can be hard work, especially if you are 2 years old!
8) Don't stress if things are taking longer than you anticipated and don't get upset with your child. They will sense that and that won't make things go any better.
9) Everyone will probably be aware when the child has had enough and is ready to be done - so avoid the urge to keep pushing. It usually doesn't end well.
10) Keep a light hearted attitude and know that a child is going to act like a child. Enjoy the moment and you'll enjoy your finished pictures that much more!