Preparing for a One Year Session
With all sessions, preparation and cooperation is the MOST important part of your session. With budding toddlers, preparation or lack of, will absolutely make or break the quality of your session, images and investment.
My goal for you and your little is a FUN day, AMAZING images and a GREAT memory. The absolute truth is that is not always the experience.
WHAT?!?! But the pictures look SO CUTE!!!
Of course they do!
The most important piece of information I can give prior to a one year session is how absolutely important it is to be open minded about what to expect, keep your little's emotional needs first as well as their unique personality traits in mind! One year olds are experiencing an array of new "firsts" at this age, emotionally, physically and mentally. Anyone with a one year old has experienced just how quickly emotions change and how they seem to never react the way you expect them to!
Below are some tips, recommendations and guides to help your little have the best experience possible and get the greatest photos!
- One year sessions move QUICKLY! Please do not think your session is being rushed if you leave feeling as though you just ran a marathon! There is a lot to accomplish while shooting this milestone and most all babies have a threshold of cooperation and will let you know very quickly once that threshold has been met.
- Baby runs the show-My goal is for your child to be and appear HAPPY! If we attempt something that they are unhappy with, we will move on. This is for the quality of the remainder of the session. You can end a session quickly by trying to force a pose, smile, outfit, prop, etc.
- When you arrive, if baby is asleep, please wake them and play with them, BEFORE coming into the studio. Waking in a strange place with a strange person can set a negative tone before we ever make it to the set.
- When you arrive, please don't put baby down. Please hold them! If you are bringing in items and need an extra hand, I will be available for that. Keep baby happy, secure and comfortable. Also, with walking toddlers, this keeps them from becoming overly familiar and comfortable in the space too quickly. Once that happens, (hopefully during shooting), it will be much more difficult keeping them on the set.
- While I realize sometimes plans just do not go the way you think or hoped, please understand that some of the hardest one year sessions have been when baby was either sleepy or hungry! Planning a nap on the way to the appointment may not work the way you anticipate.
- If we are shooting a cake smash session, please bring small snacks: Cheerios, neutral colors small puffs (not the large orange cheesy ones). More often than not, babies do not love cake! Many cake smashes actually had snacks hidden inside :) -Don't tell my secret!
- Please bring comfort items for your little! If they have a favorite blanket, toy, book, anything!, we may need it. Neutral color items work better, just in case they make it into a photo or two!
While in the midst of this Separation Anxiety prone milestone, at all times we want baby to feel comfortable! I have some that warm immediately to the set, don't mind the harsh flashing from the lighting and just ham and cheese it up for 30-40 minutes! These sessions are my DREAM! They do not all go that way. Some babies look immediately terrified the second they are placed on the set, spend the majority of the session giving me a stink eye or trying to crawl back to Mommy or Daddy! Both sessions still yield fantastic images!! In the event of the latter, a few things to keep in mind:
- We never EVER want to put baby on the set and walk away! I will have parents sit with, play with, sing to, etc. for the first few minutes of the session. I will snap close up shots (slowly) to get them comfortable with the flash and assess their reaction before jumping right in. If they are still hesitant, it is possible you may end up in a photo or two!
- While ideally, we want baby looking and smiling at the camera, sometimes we get better, more honest smiles if they are looking at you! While the whole goal of milestone photography is to capture your child as they are and not perfectly sitting posing and smiling - sometimes we end up with more smiling off camera photos.
- Within this same mindset of "capturing your child as they are", if your child is typically stoic around strangers, introspective and analytical (absolutely a "first child" trait-I had one of my own), etc. we may get many stares instead of smiles. It is just part of who your child is at this time!
- If multiple people are attending the session, please remember that we do not all need to be trying to get baby's attention at the same time. This is EXTREMELY overwhelming.
- Short bursts of quick, loud noises work best to get great smiles. You do not want to repeatedly call, sing, etc. as they can often begin to tune us out!
- Work on a song playlist prior to the session if you would like! You know your child better than me and not all Disney tune, Baby Shark anthems are the keys to happiness. Anything that normally gets a laugh, smile, giggle! Sometimes we have to break out a phone during the session.
- Parents, PLEASE don't be afraid to be silly to get a smile. This is a no judgement zone!!!
Last but not least, if we are shooting a cake smash....you will get dirty....I apologize!
No matter what happens the day of your session, you will get great images! Not all galleries are full of perfectly smiling and posed photos. And that is ok. My goal is to capture your child and their milestone, as they are. This is such a super fun stage and often there are many quirks that years down the road you will be so thankful to have, even if that includes a tear or two!
One final note: PLEASE do not bring sick kiddos (or adults) into the studio. While I realize the inconvenience of a rescheduled session, this is for the quality of your session as well as the health of myself, my family and future clients into this space.
If baby is not feeling well the day of the session for any other reason: ear ache, teething, etc., let me know prior to. First year milestone sessions are the most rescheduled sessions I have. This is normal and not an issue in the least!