Who doesn’t want precious photos of their own child? We all do. They are the cutest model you could ask for and available any time you want to shoot.
I’ve been taking monthly pictures of my daughter since she was born in. It takes a lot of work to make her shoot happen every month because there are so much going on in our life. But I love doing photo shoots for my little knowing that it would be a very special gift that I will be giving her when she’s old enough to appreciate all my work and effort.
Read more: 10 Tips for a Stylized Photo Shoot
Most of my monthly shoots with her are very casual. I take pictures while she is hanging out in our backyard, reading books, and doing other things that she loves to do. But sometimes, I like to do a styled shoot with her as I do with my clients from time to time.
I plan a styled shoot for her either when I find a really pretty spot or for a special occasion like her birthday. Do you want to have a successful styled shoot with your own child?
The first thing I ask my clients when I am brainstorming with them is “What do you have in mind?” That’s how I start planning their session. What they want becomes the theme of the photo shoot.
Choosing a theme is very easy. Is your child a little bookworm and want to do a styled shoot that something to do with books? Then set the library theme for your styled shoot for your child. Think of what your child loves to do.
But it can also be what you want too! Let’s say you are a big fan of Audrey Hepburn. You’ve always wanted to do a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” photo shoot? Then go for it! Make this styled shoot fun for your child.
For my daughter’s 3 year pictures, I did an ice cream shop themed shoot. I was planning a donut themed birthday party for her and I thought ice cream shoot would be perfect for this shoot. Kayleigh loves ice cream. Who doesn’t like ice cream?
When I told her that we are going on an ice cream date and mommy will be taking some pictures of her while we hang out, she got so excited. It’s best to choose a theme your child will be excited about.
The location is almost as important as the theme. When I am looking for locations for photo shoots, I do some research. I look up my options first and narrow it down by looking at images on Google.
For Kayleigh’s ice cream shoot, I used Yelp to finalize my decision because I had to know how it looked like inside. Google had many images of ice cream shops but they were mostly pictures of the store front or the menu.
But I was able to see inside of the ice cream parlor without going there by looking at the pictures that customers posted. So be creative! There are a lot of ways to do the research.
If you want to shoot at a commercial place like an ice cream parlor, call before you go and ask for the permission with the owner or manager.
From what I have experienced so far, most small business owners are very friendly and didn’t mind me shooting at their establishment. But I’ve heard from my fellow photographers that some places don’t allow photo shoots or they want you to pay to use their space.
Sometimes, I find awesome locations unexpectedly. In those cases, I go backward. I find the theme accordingly to the location I found.
There is no set rule here. Be creative. Even a dirt lot could be a perfect location for a certain shoot.
So now you figured out the theme and the location. The next thing you need to plan is an outfit for your little. I happened to have a perfect dress I bought a few months before her birthday that would be go perfectly with the ice cream theme and the color scheme of the ice cream parlor we were going to go.
I usually put together outfits after figuring out the theme and the location. But sometimes it happens the other way.
I mostly get her outfits from retail stores or small online boutiques that I come across on Instagram. But sometimes, I find the cutest outfits at the local consignment shops I go to after cleaning out her closet every season.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to find the perfect outfits for a photo shoot. Check out your local consignment shop. You will be surprised what you find there at a third of price or less.
No.04Let them be themselves
Letting your child be is the key to capturing precious moments that come out naturally. This adorable picture above was taken while she was waiting for her ice cream. Look at her precious face filled with excitement! Priceless.
Sometimes I have certain images in my mind, so I try to set her up based on how I envision it. But every time I do that, it doesn’t work. She loses interest and becomes more aware of me taking pictures of her. Everything goes south from there.
Don’t force them to pose or focus on getting pictures you want. When it becomes “work” rather than a fun hangout with mommy (or daddy), it gets harder to get great photos you want. Just let them explore the new place first. Kids are curious.
With my daughter, I let her hang out and play. All these adorable pictures of her at the ice cream shop were of her just being herself and having fun.
Kids just want to have fun. Have fun with them. Chase them around.
Everything to do with children takes great patience, especially when you are dealing with your own child. Your child may act up, doesn’t want to take pictures, or is just having one of those days. Be patient with them and it will be all worth it when you see what you shot.
When you see wedding photos, you always see gorgeous shots of rings, dress, cake and other pretty things. Those detailed shots set the mood and complete the whole wedding day photo album.
It’s the same for the styled shoot with your own child. Take some pictures of the location, things that tell the theme and even details of the outfit.
I took some shots that were focused on ice cream, menu, and pretty area of the ice cream parlor. It makes you feel like you were there with her, right? So don’t forget the detail shots that speak the theme.
Three years and 36 photo shoots and later, my passion for documenting my daughter’s life every month leads me to where I am today. I am planning on keep it going for as long as I can.
Haven’t taken pictures of your child in a while? Why not have a styled shoot for your own little? Start planning! Hope my tips and story would inspire and motivate you to do so.