One of the biggest questions I get from moms is “How long will our session be?”. When I book a session I like to assure parents, especially of toddlers, that we can do one of two ways. Quickly, or we can wait out what your toddler may need. We sort of let them be the gauge of how long your session needs to be. My goal is to capture then happy.
I find with little ones they fall into one of two categories. They’re either shy and need a little bit of time to get to know me, the lady standing there with this big intimidating looking camera. Or, they are ready to go right out of the car, but there’s a good chance they’re going to run out of steam before too long.
How much time is just right for my little one?
I always leave room in my session times for either situation. If we need that full hour, or sometimes, maybe a little bit more to get a little one to come out of their shell, I know I have it. However, being two, or three or four can be tough! Especially when you don’t understand why mom and dad have you all dressed up in this park that looks really really fun to run around in, yet you’re expected to just sit still and smile.
I like to dive right in to family session by getting some of the most key photos out of the way. Those whole family shots, where we need everyone’s participation and smiling. I know that in 5, 10 maybe 15 minutes your little one may grow tired of me. So I like to knock out the key photos, then we can let it be more about them. We can capture those silly side eyed looks they give you. Or capture them leaning down to pick a flower or write their name in the sand.
So much emphasis is put on “will our session be long enough?”. I promise you, yes. Time does not equal better photos necessarily though. The length of your shoot time doesn’t make or break what your gallery will look like to me. To be honest, some of my best sessions were shot in less than 30 minutes.
This past weekend I had a shoot with the cutest, almost two year old. I’d met him twice before and was so excited to have the chance to capture him again. This session was for his second birthday and it was all about him. That is a lot of pressure for me to put on this little guy! We started out great. After about 20 minutes I could tell he was starting to get bored. There were so many cooler thins in the park to explore than standing looking at me. After about 25 minutes he was just not feeling it anymore. It was getting close to dinner time, it was later in the day, all those things that can cause a toddler to get tired, or sad.
I knew I already had a whole memory card FULL of adorable photos. We didn’t need to drag it out for him any longer. As I scrolled through the back showing mom some images she too realized that we actually had a lot and that he looked so cute and happy.
This whole session was shot in 30 minutes. We took the time HE needed and I knew I had exactly what I needed to deliver a beautiful gallery to his mommy!
So moral of this story, I promise you we WILL get gorgeous photos of your child. If we need every minute of that hour session for me to get a smile out of them we will take it. If you felt like your session went really fast or rushed because they lost interest in having their photo taken, please don’t stress. Know that I only need a matter of seconds here or there of them smiling to give you an amazing gallery full or framable photos.