There are a few key things parents need to keep in mind when heading into a photo shoot with their young children (about 5 and under). We will always move the session at the pace of the child, giving them breaks when needed, even if it extends our time a bit. Trying to force a kid to sit for the camera when they need to get their wiggles out never works. And sometimes their play “breaks” make for cute photo ops. I prefer to take the time to let the child warm up to me and our location which usually leads to more genuine expressions and emotions on camera.
Don’t stress and don’t stress their behavior. It’s important for parents to be relaxed about the session. Tension or stress, even non-verbal, is usually picked up by the children and it carries over to their behavior. Don’t stress their crazy kid antics, if your kids are anything like mine they will be 1) overly shy or 2) overly showing off because they’re around someone new.
Bring a favorite toy or stuffed animal for comfort. This goes a long way to comfort toddlers, and often is a good distraction. Additionally, sometimes it’s nice to have photos of our kids with their favorite raggedy bunny because it’s part of the story of their childhood and makes for photos that evoke great memories down the line. It’s also a good idea to bring snacks and water, just don’t bring anything too distracting or messy, like chocolate.