When it comes to taking family photos with toddlers, things can escalate into chaos fairly quickly. It's important that one be prepared as much as possible and not just figure it out as you go. With that being said, as much as you plan, you might have to just wing it. For example, the weather can change or the location can be filled with other events, etc. A few months ago, I met a lovely photographer via Instagram and we became friends. Her name is @inn.an and she is very talented. I just knew I had to have her take my family Christmas photos. Please let her know I referred you and she'll have a 65% discount for you. During our shoot, I especially loved that she was very patient with my boys and was great at giving them specific directions for the photos. I was pretty amazed at how they listened to her. I wish they would follow my directions when I'm trying to take pictures.
1. FIND A LOCATION - know where you want to take photos ahead of time, depending on the type of photos you have in mind. I would suggest going a few days before to scout the location to see if it gets congested and if there are various areas to take photos. Also, I wouldn't go too far away from home with toddlers because we want them to remain in a good mood. We all know what happens if they fall asleep during the trip.
2. USE PROPS - think about the location and what props might be appropriate. Perhaps a chair, blanket, balloons, signs, etc. Sometimes it's best to give the kids something to hold onto or sit on so they can be better participants.
3. TAKE SNACKS - make sure to eat before the photoshoot so that the kids are not grumpy. Also, take a few favorite snacks you can use to bribe them. For my boys, lollipops are most helpful.
4. CANDID IS BEST - just go with the flow. Kids are unpredictable and your expectations can easily turn into a nightmare. Try to avoid the kids looking at the camera, instead let the photographer know to snap as you guys are walking to interacting with them. Don't force the kids to pose a specific way if they don't want to, it'll only make things worse.
5. OUTFITS - they don't always have to be matching, but they should go well together. I try to have the outfits at least a week before to make sure all items fit with the kids. Who am I kidding? I like to make sure mine fit me too, haha.
6. PREP TIME - the day of the photoshoot, try to get ready ahead of time. I like to feed the kids first and then change them and have them ready to go while my husband and I get ready. Just be aware of the process.
7. HAVE FUN - the energy you have during the photoshoot will reflect on how the photos come out. If a photoshoot isn't coming out as planned, just move on and make the most out of it. I'm sure the photographer will be able to capture your family well. If I can just get ONE good photo, I'll be happy. That's my motto.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!