As a professional photographer I have taken pictures of hundreds of kids. When I had my own studio I soon realized that kids are big business in the photography world. I have seen parents travel for hours to come to a certain photography studio to achieve that perfect photograph. Unfortunately, sometimes it is difficult to get the look that the parents want. They, especially the newer parents, haven’t yet realized that when taking photos of kids you learn to be happy with what you get. Sometimes the parents can be more challenging than the kids when we’re all locked up in the studio.
When making the appointment for your child’s photo session, consider the time of day. Try for after nap, before dinner. That is the perfect time, but things can always go wrong. Maybe your child will fall asleep in the car on the way to the studio. They won’t be particularly happy about you waking them to have a photographer dance around them, talking in a shrill voice, wanting them to smile. Try to get to the studio or near the studio about 30 minutes prior to your appointment to walk around and wake up if the unexpected nap occurs. Other unforeseen issues can arise such as the child falls down, wets himself or herself, gets upset over something, doesn’t feel well or just is not in the mood to sit and have his picture taken. It happens, they are kids, kids are unpredictable, but trust your photographer. If you have chosen a photographer who is specialized (and I highly recommend that) you should have no problems.
Dress your child in clothing that is comfortable and that she likes. This is more important the just about anything else. If the child feels good and comfortable, the photos will look great. If she has a particularly funky style you can compromise and take a couple of photos in the outfit you choose and a couple of shots in her own unique ensemble. You may be surprised. Avoid large prints and geometrical shapes. Also, try to find out the color or colors of the backdrops so you do not dress your child to blend in with them and become the “invisible person.” Black, white and red are colors that even top notch cameras have trouble with sometimes. If you are determined to use these colors, break it up a little, don’t go all one color. Flashy jewelry reflects light. You may get a glare if you child wears anything shiny. Eyeglasses are OK to wear in a photo, but avoid shiny frames. If your child does wear eyeglasses you can angle them slightly, tipping the bows up slightly off of his ears. This keeps the light from reflecting on them and making your child look like an alien.
Just be flexible and realize that sometimes the best photos with the most engaging smiles are not the ones you planned when you made the appointment. Let the child, the real child, shine through. Let the real smile emerge, the real expression, the mussed hair. Years later you will look at that photo and see who your child really was. And the memories of that day will bring you many, many fond memories and smiles. Finally, you can try these tips at home and achieve amazing results.