My photography career has undergone a shift in the past few years. I now photograph bar/bat mitzvahs almost exclusively. Every once in a while I’ll do a family portrait session or corporate shoot for a great client but bar & bat mitzvahs keep me pretty busy these days. As the mom of twin toddler girls, every day is a juggling act. It always happens the same way….one day I’m at my computer editing and I suddenly realize this photographer/mom has completely forgotten to take a REAL non-IPhone portrait of my girls in months. GASP!
I may be just a little biased, but I do love photographing my girls. They are almost three and most of the time they love each other a lot. Don’t let their little cherub faces fool you, just like any toddlers, they don’t stay still. It’s a crazy, crazy endeavor to make a photo session happen successfully. I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned along the way for other moms attempting a photo shoot.
Here’s a few tips if you are planning to take some images of your kids:
1) Keep the session short. 10-15 minutes tops!
2) Put their outfits on at the very last minute. A lot of times the best expressions are because they are so excited about their new outfits. This also keeps them looking nice.
3) Bring a wingman! Someone needs to round up the toddler (or toddlers in my case) while you are holding your camera.
4) Go LOW! Another reason you need a wingman, you need to get down to your children’s eye level. Squatting or kneeling rather than sitting is best since you will need to move fast!
5) Give limited direction. A photo session can be very overstimulating. Just put your kids in a spot and let them interact with the surroundings, a prop or each other. Every once in a while, give a “now look at each other”,”look at Mommy” or “hold hands”. If they are getting bored send them to a new spot.
6) Keep the mood light even if they are not cooperating. There is always tomorrow. You want having their photo taken to stay a positive experience for them….and for the next time!
7) Pick the best time. Since you don’t have to make an appointment with a photographer, pick the best time for your kids. This session was right after lunch. We changed into our outfits right before we left the restaurant so there were no spills.
8) Go with the flow. Even I’m not perfect. My slip up was not bringing a brush. My daughter fell asleep on the way and her hair was a mess. All I had was a baby comb which didn’t do a great job. She wasn’t interested in doing photos without her sister so I just let it be and took more of the girls together.
9) Don’t tell them to smile. Make them smile. Say a funny word. Make a funny face or noise. Or just let them make whatever face they want to make. I love capturing all of my girls’ expressions as you’ll see below.
10) Shoot. Shoot. Shoot. I took over 100 images. Here are the best ones.
Little Miss wasn’t into individual portraits that day. She looked away or made faces anytime I tried. This was actually a photo of both of my girls and the other was looking away. I just cropped it closer.
It may seem like these are posed, but the girls were in motion the whole time!
Every photo doesn’t have to be a smiling one. I love when my kids show all sides of their personalities in photos.