Toddlers: the easiest and most difficult subjects a photographer will ever work with. My confession is that toddler shoots are actually my favorite. Perhaps it's because it's close to my heart, since I have two small ones myself. I know the satisfaction and joy that come from capturing their tiny personalities the way they are today, so I can save a piece of their small selves forever. There is just something about freezing a moment in time, and suddenly seeing with clarity their childlike innocence and the future of who they will become, all in one simple photograph.
That doesn't mean that capturing that is always easy. Getting them to smile for the camera, pose the way you want them to, or even sit still for 30 seconds while you adjust your camera settings for proper exposure seems nearly impossible!
One thing that I learned from watching the INCREDIBLY talented Wendy McGraw at work (seriously, check her out at http://almotaroses.com, you'll be glad you did!) was that photographing toddlers takes time. While forcing poses and smiles is largely impossible, you can capture them, in all of the reality of their world, if you just exhibit a little patience. Let them run around and play. Let them get used to you, and forget you are there with your camera. Let them laugh and explore and jump and hide and cry and yell, and (in my experience) make sure you have at least 500 spots on your memory card. :)
My goal has become not to force something that doesn't come naturally, but to create a keepsake of what does. While forced poses and smiles are often impossible, I've learned that's not what I want to capture anyway. The beauty of a two year old's world is that everything is real. And photographing them should reflect just that: the magic of the world as seen through the eyes of a child.
Here's a sweet little two year old girl I had the opportunity to capture this week. She didn't sit still or even look at the camera for more than two seconds at a time! And lucky for us that she didn't, because we got a glimpse into little M's world.
To see more pictures, visit my facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pruneorchardphotography