We took our Christmas pictures last Tuesday and I was honestly dreading it. RJ is at the age (13 months) where stranger anxiety is REAL and I just knew he was going to act a PLUM FOOL all up in the studio. Thankfully it went amazingly and we got some great shots! I figured id share with you some of the things I did to prep him for our family shoot.
1. As with everything toddler-related. Timing is everything. RJ took a GOOD nap about an hour before we were going to leave the house. I knew he'd be in a MUCH better mood if he wasn't tired/cranky on top of being in a new environment. SO once the yawning started, I didn't even try to fight unscheduled nap time.
2. Take group pictures first. Because chances are if you just walk into the studio and plop them down to take solo pics you aren't going to get any good shots. I literally had to fight the grip this kid had on me. He was not going anywhere for like the first 15 minutes.
3. Have someone you know take the pictures/DIY it. We used a Groupon for JCP portraits but if you have the equipment and the eye you can take your portraits right at home! Being in a familiar environment will definitely ease some of the stress your toddler may feel and you have unlimited access to their favorite toys/books/whatever makes them happy! If you have a relative/familiar friend that's into photography the same concept applies!
4. Practice makes perfect! I probably harassed RJ all week telling him to say cheese lol so when we were actually at the studio (and he was over the fear of standing up alone) he knew what I was talking about. He still didn't smile AS hard, but he wasn't screaming his head off so I'll take it as a win. Plus I got some hilarious cheesy faces during the whole prep period
5. Just go with it. Nothing stresses your child out more than YOUR stress. So make sure you're in the right state of mind to help them feel completely comfortable. Things aren't going to be 100% perfect and at the end of the day everyone will understand because ummmm..... toddlers! And your pictures will be super cute either way!
Enjoy the craziness of toddlerhood before you have moody hormonal teenagers who won't appreciate family portrait time LOL.
*groupon link is a referral link*