This coming week, I plan to photograph my own children for my son’s annual birthday photo session. (And yes, for those of you that know when his birthday is, we are a tad late this year! I’m using having a newborn and cold weather as excuses for my lateness.) And next week I’ll photograph a number of children as part of a fundraiser for the local MOMS Club. With so many kids in the line up, I thought it was fitting to re-post this article from last year on the perfect toddler photograph.
Toddlers are energetic and unpredictable – quiet and content one moment and running wild the next. At times they listen, and other times, they simply follow the beat of their own drum.
We all know this. Yet when our children don’t cooperate perfectly for a photo session, we often get discouraged, mistakenly believing that if they aren’t sitting still and following instructions, then the photo shoot is ruined.
Just the opposite, children’s free will and spirit are actually giving us one-of-a-kind photographs that capture our children exactly as they are in this moment of time. Like everyone else, I want the perfect family photo with everyone smiling at the camera. But I have learned that the photos that will mean the most to me are the ones where they are allowed to simply be — holding hands as they run as fast as they’re able, a spontaneous hug, picking a flower or even displaying a pouty lip. (My husband is always reminding me not to edit out the grumpy photos. They can be just as cute as the happy ones and they show the full picture of life with a toddler.)
If I’m fortunate enough to photograph your toddlers, please don’t ever apologize for their behavior. They’re not being bad. They didn’t come to the session with a secret plan to sabotage the photos. They’re simply just being who they are. And I promise you that this will produce far better photographs and memories than the ones we could have envisioned. Tension shows in photographs, so the more relaxed you and your spouse are, the better the experience for the whole family and the better the photos!
So go ahead, pack an extra outfit for their session, and then let them splash about in a puddle, chase a butterfly or even dig in the dirt. Childhood is fleeting and these are the photos you’ll cherish when they’re grown!