We are asked so many times by other photographers how do we get such happy and engaging baby and toddler portrait photography.
Well we thought we would share the five best tips we have learnt over our 15 year career as portrait photographers. We hope you find these tips useful. If you do, please let us know below.
1. Respect Babies & Toddlers as Little People
Babies and toddler are tiny versions of you and me. They have feelings. They can easily get upset. They even have ideas about what they want to do in the moment. Ignore these facts at your peril,
As a photographer its important that we understand that "They Do Not Understand" what a photography session is, and what is expected of them. They may feel unsure, even scared.
Give them a little time to adjust to their new environment. Make it a game. Make sure Mom & Dad bring distractions or favourite toy or their comfort blanket so they feel secure.
Give them something to hide behind and they will love to peek out from behind.
“Having a two-year-old is like having a blender that you don’t have the top for.” – Jerry Seinfeld
2. Be their friend
I know this sounds corny and twee. But Elise makes sure she becomes the best friend that the baby or toddler has always wanted. She always knows their name and speaks to them by name. So many photographers do not realise that because a baby or toddler cannot speak does not mean they do not understand.
Babies as young as 6 weeks will acknowledge their name, that's because Mom, Dad, Grandparents have spent the last 6 weeks saying virtually nothing to them but their name. David...who's beautiful, David... who's gorgeous. David... don't do that....:)
Read many of our reviews and you will quickly see one thing that stands out. Elise became the friend of my daunt or my son...
In the Bible in 1 Corinthian 13 is say "Love is Patient." And here, at Studio27 we believe that is true.
We love every baby and toddler. Come to that, we love every tired, sleep deprived parent as well!
Sometimes babies and toddlers cannot be the most likeable people because they do not want to do what you want them too. That's when its so important for them to know we love them and we show them love by being patient with them.
Sometime we have had to wait 20 to 30 minutes before they are in the right place to have their portraits taken, that before we even start the session.
Go AGAINST the Business World
Today as I write this blog, we had a baby in the studio who was not having a good day. They were maybe tired. Just woke on the wrong side of the bed. Didn't like the camera. Whatever!
It was clear nothing was going to make him happy and content. So we did what other portrait studios would never dream of doing....
We rescheduled they session to another day about a week later FOR FREE. Be Gracious to your parents this maybe just one of those days or they may have been struggling with a ton of stuff.
Love is patient. Grace is so worthwhile.
4. Give Encouragement
One of the things I learnt many years ago as a parent of three children, Is encouragement is worth its weight in gold.
A "Well Done" goes a long, long way. Why?
Because at the very simplest level, children want to please adults. I never understand why parents almost refuse to tell their child "well done", "brilliant", "you were great". So often that's all they want to hear. They certainly don't want to be told they are a devil!
In the studio we constantly reinforce encouragement. When a baby, crawler, toddler does what we want they get a "Well done", a "you were brilliant" and where appropriate a high-five.
5. Eye to eye
Don't look down on a toddler. Always come down to their level. If need be, sit on the floor look them in the eye, face to face, to explain to them what to do - then do it. Explain to them in a way they can understand... "Would you come and sit on this lovely soft mat and rub the fur for me." Then go with them, when they are doing what you want them to do, back away slowly and get the shot.
Especially with toddlers and two year olds looking into their eye is incredible powerful - why?
Well when they were babies every time they were fed mom looked down into their eyes when they were feeding. When they started solids mom and dad would pay close attention looking intently as they ate. In fact I remember watching them so closely my mouth moved with theirs as they ate.
As soon as they can eat themselves we stop looking so closely at them, they become independent. But they still crave eye to eye assurance contact.
“The quickest way for a parent to get a child’s attention is to sit down and look comfortable.”– Lane Olinghouse?
Laugh at yourself all the time and occasionally an unhappy baby will laugh at you as well. Blessing Keith & Elise