Xander’s 2nd Birthday Portraits: How to Successfully Photograph an Active Toddler

This was the second time I got to take portraits of this little man.  I knew from our first session that, like most boys his age, he is more interested in playing than in sitting and posing for that perfect, “looking and smiling at the camera” portrait that every parent dreams about. 

Prior to our session, I suggested that mom bring some of his things that he would like to play with, that she wouldn’t mind being in her pictures.  She selected a blue bat and a blue bug catching net.  I also suggested a lollipop, which she also brought (although in hindsight, future suggestions of this kind will include “and make sure it’s a neutral color that won’t give your kid an odd-colored tongue and lips for the rest of your pictures – not a problem here b/c dad helped eat some).  And of course balloons for his bday were present, along with a large #2 that mom wrapped with yarn. 

Then during our session, we were very relaxed and let Xander do his thing, and I followed with my camera.  We of course encouraged looks and smiles in my direction, but since we weren’t getting frustrated when he didn’t, there was no power struggle (if you want to read more about power struggles, I’m a big fan of Dr. Laura Markham over at ‘Aha! Parenting’).  As a result, he felt comfortable and free to explore, and like most exploring kids, he would periodically make eye contact with his parents.  Since they were standing nearby, I snapped away whenever I saw those baby blues.  He even made eye contact with my lens a few times in a similar way, just checking me out to see if I was still there.  Yup, I was, and was able to capture these great moments, and his big personality.  Happy birthday!

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