Entering into my fifth year in business as a family photographer in Metro-West Boston, I can confidently say that some ages of kids are more challenging than others. While you might guess that a moody two year old would be the hardest, I disagree! I find the most challenging age to be the newly walking toddler. Between 12 months and 24 months presents a unique challenge. The newly walking active toddler wants nothing to do with pictures. They want to run, walk, and run some more. They are too young to be bribed and usually too young to engage in most games. What’s a photographer to do? Here are 5 tips to have a more successful session.
Trust me on this, the more you embrace the chaos, the more successful your family session will be. The more you fight to keep an active toddler still, the more grumpy and stubborn they become. Because they do tend to be a bit hesitant and apprehensive at the beginning, I would grab posed family shots at the very beginning. Have mom or dad hold that toddler close and get that image done before they’ve warmed up enough to run away!
If the active toddler you’re trying to photograph is not feeling being held by mom and dad, incorporate movement! One of my favorite tricks is to have a parent throw the toddler in the air (or gently raise, depending on age) and then pull them close when they come down. The smile/shriek of delight will last for a millisecond after the toss is over…just enough time to grab a frame!
This may seem obvious, but truly, changing scenery is essential for keeping the 1-2 year old engaged. Sit, stand, walk, swing them, throw them in the air. Move to one side of your location, then the other. Let them explore and stay excited. The more positive momentum to carry you through the session, the better! In the evening/sunset timeframe it can be hard to pull these littles out of a grumpy/whiny mood, so try not to let one start.
While a wide angle lens doesn’t give you the beautiful compression that a longer lens offers, it is essential (in my opinion) for this age group. It’s very challenging to keep the active toddler engaged and being up close and personal to make funny noises and faces helps me immensely. Playing peek-a-boo from 10 feet away is not as effective as playing peek-a-boo from 18 inches away! I use a combination of a 35mm lens and an 85mm lens for every session so that I can get a great mix of compression and up close shots. With a super wiggly/active toddler, I lean heavily on my 35. Older kiddos, you’ll see more from my 85!
This might seem obvious, but it is important to remember that these kiddos are not one-size-fits-all. Engage mom and dad by asking them what entertains their child. Some kids LOVE being tossed in the air or riding high on a parent’s shoulders. Others hate that and prefer being tickled or sung their favorite song. This is a great question to ask before your session if you send a pre-session questionnaire, but also talked about on the spot!
"To say that I love each one would be cliche and a total understatement, but seriously... She nailed it. Being a photographer myself, I am very picky and searched dozens of photographers before coming back to lyndsay and booking her and I am so glad I did. I can't even remember the last time I hired a photographer and was this in love with the images and unable to pick just a few favorites. Thank you, lyndsay, for making the photo session easy (with 3 kids), fun and providing this mama memories for a lifetime.”
"Our images are so special and really captured our joy and the sweet personality of our little girl. Lyndsay did a great job going beyond the typical posed shots and making our photos feel authentic. We will treasure them forever."
- amanda, northborough
"We have done multiple sessions (family and newborn) and we’re so happy with the results. Lyndsay makes you feel comfortable and is able to truly capture the moment. We will have her prints hung in our house for years to come."
- beth - framingham
"We've done it all - newborn, maternity, cake smash, family photos - and every single time we are amazed by the quality of the end product. Lyndsay captures beautiful moments that we will treasure forever!"
- nicole - framingham