Preparing for your session can be a challenge, especially with small children. I know as a momma how challenging it can be to get outfits planned, everyone cleaned up, rested and out the door for a session. That’s why I want to give you some of my best tried and true tips for a successful session. But know that there will always be unforeseen problems or toddler emotions that will arise. I’ve learned over the years to just go with the flow and work with each challenge as it comes up. I hope you can do this too!
Naps and Food
All of us function better with a nap and food. 🙂 It goes without saying that your toddler will too. There are nap time battles, but I encourage parents to give their little ones naps before sessions. Sometimes your session will fall close to supper time due to the light. If you don’t eat a meal before your session, make sure your child has a hardy snack, something that will fill them up. I also highly encourage parents to bring some “clean” snacks along. When I say “clean” I mean dry snacks that won’t leave stains on their clothes or faces. It can be Cheerios, pretzels, Goldfish crackers, dried fruit, Annie’s Bunny Grahams (a fav of my own kids) or even fruit snacks.
Dress Your Child at the Session
Some older children will be able to get dressed at home before you meet me. Little ones may need to be dressed on location. There will be less stains and wrinkles on their cute little outfits you have so carefully planned if you wait until the last minute to put them on.
Favorite Toy or Comfort Item
It can help a child to get comfortable with me and to get their attention if you bring along a favorite toy or stuffed animal. I can ask them about it and use it to get their attention when needed. I can make each stuffed animal sing fantastic songs and do fun moves just to get a giggle or a smile from your child.
Set Your Expectations
As mommas we go into sessions with ideas and expectations of how things will go. Preparing our minds for the session is just as important as planning the snacks, outfits and location. Most often things don’t go quite like we planned. I encourage you to set those expectations aside and try to savor the moment. You may have to pull a child aside for an extra cuddle or a stern word to cooperate. You might have a child get a grass or food stain on their outfit (Note: I can usually get that stain out in editing). There might also be lots of gnats out that evening at that particular location (Been there, done that at a session). Just lean into whatever is going on in the moment.
Don’t Be Hard on Yourself
Women tend to pick apart themselves first thing when they look at the back of a camera or see their images. If I can encourage you in one thing… ONE THING… it’s this… don’t put yourself down. You and your body have done so much to grow, birth and nurture your sweet babies. All of us have flaws we don’t like about ourselves, but all our kids and families want is to see you happy, enjoying life and doing it together. Your kids will love seeing you in photos playing with them and loving them. They don’t care that you have a double chin, have extra weight in your middle or that your arms are extra soft. It’s those features that are home to them. Don’t forget your body was their only home for about nine months before birth. You are created amazingly, momma! Don’t be hard on yourself, okay?
If you want to find some shops or beautiful dresses to use for your next session, check out this recent blog post on Spring Dresses. I hope these tips help you prepare for your next session with me and make you feel so excited for a session together!