Photographing a toddler that doesn’t want their picture taken.
Kids and animals; the two contenders for hardest things to photograph!
My son is no exception; just because he’s had a studio shoot almost every month of his life, it doesn’t mean he always does what we expect him to in front of the camera. But then this is true of his age group (~2 years old).
It’s no surprise to many parents who bring in their kids that the studio and even I myself can be confusing and frightening. It’s a new place with big bright lights and strange noises. The most laid-back and pleasant child can feel overwhelmed at first.
We are lucky that the studio is ours and we can come back if there’s a problem, but this isn’t always the case for our customers, so it’s important to make the most of the time we have. In an hour-long photo shoot, I will usually spend five to ten minutes at the beginning getting to know the child and helping them to relax. This rapport is crucial in getting the shots parents are looking for. On a good day, I can spend forty minutes snapping, though sometimes it’s as little as twenty for a variety of reasons, either way I make sure that I get the photographs I need within the shorter time frame, just in case.
On May 23rd Hugo turned twenty months, and as we did with his sister before him we dressed him in a new outfit and set up the studio. Incredibly, he already says ‘cheese’ when a camera appears, and for a few moments, happily exploring a new toy, he sat smiling. Then he did what all toddlers are prone to do; got up and decided he’d had enough. Loudly.
It’s common at this point for parents to panic and attempt to calm or bribe their little one or even tell them off. But we all know toddlers aren’t to be bartered with. Hugo simply wasn’t having it, wandering off to look for new toys or even try to heave the garage door open. But, after only a few short minutes, he came back. All he needed was simply a moment to collect himself to return to the task in hand, giving me what I needed to capture him at this most volatile and entertaining stage of life. He might be a can of nitroglycerin on some days, but there is still a good reason we call him Happy Boy.