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What If My Toddler Won’t Cooperate at the Photo Shoot? | Brisbane Family Photography

In my life outside of being a family photographer, I’m a dentist. And from a decade of asking little ones to open wide, one thing I know for sure is that sometimes kids, especially toddlers, don’t do what you want them to do!

In a family photo shoot, where all you want is a nice photo of the whole family smiling, this can be particularly frustrating. Know that you’re not along in worrying about what will happen if your toddler has a meltdown during the photoshoot!

Here’s my approach for your family photoshoot to put your mind at ease.

Start by Showering Attention on the Older Sibling

It can be a bit of shock being the centre of attention in your parent’s life and then suddenly with the addition of a new brother or sister, having to share the limelight. This can be especially true if we’re having a photoshoot to celebrate the addition of a new family member – all eyes are on baby!

When I first arrive to a photoshoot, at your house or on location, I get started by introducing myself to your older child. Maybe I can get a tour around the house, see the favourite toys and get a chance to show them my camera.

"Our daughter is quite reserved usually, but Kelsie had her chatting, smiling and laughing within five minutes”

There’s No Rush

Often the start of a family photo shoot can be the time when the kids are most curious about the different things that are happening and it can be the perfect time to get some shots of the family together while that curiosity is still fresh. This is how I start our shoots so we’ve got the best chance of getting these shots. Having said that, with a 90 minute session with me, there's no rush. If we don't get them right at the start, maybe after all the excitement has calmed down or we've gotten a little more comfortable, then we can try again. I like my sessions to feel relaxed and to run on your families time, so we never feel like we need to get the shot and get out.

I Never Pressure

One thing I know never works: demanding that they smile or look at the camera or just generally do something they don’t want to do. If your toddler is giving a clear no, insisting otherwise usually just results in a doubling down and tears and certainly not in any photographs that you’ll want to hang on your walls.

I usually find that letting them be themselves rather than insisting that they do it our way, they’ll usually come around.

In the photos below, the family were really wanting some photos of the new sisters together. Big sister wasn’t so interested. She didn’t want to kiss or cuddle or be near her little sister. Instead of forcing it, we spent the time getting photos of what she was interested in and wanted to show me– playing outside with her dad, brushing her teeth. And eventually, as we were taking some shots of mum and bub, big sister crept back in to the room and onto mum’s lap, wanting to know what she was missing out on.

There is No 'Perfect' Photoshoot

Often we can feel that if our toddler isn’t on their most perfect behaviour that it’s going to be a mess. There’s a lot of self-judgement wrapped up in who you are as a parent. Don’t stress. With our sessions, there’s no way that you need to be and there’s no way that your toddler needs to be.

One of the wonderful things about lifestyle photography is that the moments of playing together, giving tickles, getting soothed – all the things that make up your life together – are all just moments to be captured.

Let's be gentle on ourselves as we capture the moments of our lives.. There's no wrong way to have a family photography session - it's impossible for you to do it wrong because all it is is a morning in your home or outdoors in nature with the people you love. It probably won't be smiles the entire time (maybe it'll be more like dancing to the Frozen soundtrack and playing in cardboard boxes). Because that's life. And it will be magical as we capture whatever it's like to be your family in this moment in time.


Ready to capture your own perfect moments?

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