Studio sessions can be really great for getting those wonderfully sharp images with bright colors and beautiful lighting. The difficult part is that except for the rare moments where we can let one or two kids dance around as if performing on a stage, most if not all of the pictures are posed. For little kids, that means we’re dealing with a ticking time bomb plus it’s a lot more difficult to capture their true colors through studio poses as opposed to a fun lifestyle session.
I like to keep studio sessions to half an hour unless they are for newborns or maternity. If you are up to the challenge of a full family session in the studio, we’ll definitely focus on taking all pictures that include toddlers first. Even the cake smash sessions can get difficult because little ones need room to run around and be silly. If we work quickly and plan on a short break to push her reset button (this usually means snack time!), then a Smile and Smash session is totally doable and even pretty easy if your little one is excited about the cake (or a cake garnished with her favorite snack).
Regardless, the best approach to little kids in a studio is accepting that they are running the show. I have all kinds of tricks up my sleeve to engage them, get their attention, and make with a beautiful smile, but parents should come prepared to work. You know your kids best and we’ll be most successful if you get involved, so definitely come prepared to sing, dance, and be in a few pictures.
Consider bringing a favorite toy, stuffed animal, or book along.
Be ready to jump around behind me as I crouch low to connect with them at their eye level.
Unless your little really hates being subjected to an outfit change, feel free to bring a couple different choices even for a mini session. Changing clothes can also act as a pretty good reset so that they don’t feel stuck in front of the camera and lights for 30 minutes straight.
Plan to bring some simple snacks that are not messy. If your child is bribeable, bring a favorite treat that won’t dribble down their mouth (Smarties are great because they are small and not at all messy). Avoid chocolate, lollipops, or anything with strong dyes that might make for a colorful tongue or lips. Due to the risk of allergies, I prefer not to provide food, but my studio is in my home and I often have things on hand if needed.
I have lots of props, but by default, I tend to keep things pretty simple. When I create an image, I want your eyes to go straight to the child’s face, not a bunch of carefully placed decorations. I encourage you to bring things that you’d like to incorporate to personalize the pictures a little, but unless you speak up, I’m going to be focused in on your precious baby rather than getting super creative with the background and props. Not to mention that taking time to set up different props is using up precious minutes of his attention span.
Generally speaking, I’ve found that the best ages for a nice studio mini session are 3 months to one year. I’ve got plenty of practice with energetic toddlers in there, but we consistently have more fun outdoors.
Don’t feel restricted by my suggestions! If you’d like to bring a couple spastic toddlers for studio pictures, I recommend bringing an extra adult to help keep things under control, but I’m pretty confident that we’ll still get some great pictures!