The picture to the left doesn't exactly inspire someone to purchase a hat, even though it's an adorable hat. The "Mom, why do you hate me?" look rather distracts the viewer from the product.
Toddlers are fickle little creatures. Even though my model was well rested, recently fed, had a clean diaper, and LOVES to wear hats. It still took me a number of tries to finally get a couple of shots that wouldn't cause my potential Etsy customers to run in fear of my product!The solution to my challenging model... BRIBERY! Evil, I know, but it WORKED!___________________________________________________________
The bribe of choice on this particular day was as simple as a glittery sticker! It made her happy, it induced a smile, and it gave me the opportunity to take a few pictures that were worthy of my creation. It may not be the greatest parenting choice that I've ever made, but it worked well under the given circumstances. She was happy, I was happy, the photos were usable, and we were then able to go on to a rousing game of "Empty the toy box!"
My most valuable tool in my arsenal though, is patience. It seems you can't force a toddler to do much of anything, but if you make it fun for them, they are more apt to cooperate.
You won't always be able to get the shots that you want on the first, or even second try. That doesn't mean you should settle for shots that aren't flattering. It just means that you need to take a break, and attempt the photo shoot at a later time. With patience you WILL get the shot you want!
In short, these are my tips for photographing toddlers:
1. Start with a well rested child - a tired tot is likely to foil your plans.
2. Make sure all basic needs are met before you start - a child that has a full tummy, and a clean diaper is a happier child.
3. Have patience - don't try to photograph the child when you are short on time, or in a hurry. If you don't get the perfect shots, pack the camera away and try again later.
4. Have fun - make sure that the photo session is fun for you, and fun for the child
5. BRIBERY! Sometimes a little sticker, a favorite toy, or a little snack may be just what you need to distract the kiddo enough that they aren't focusing on the fact that you are taking photos. The candid shots are often the ones that are keepers.