We got some great family photos at this family maternity session despite the fact that this little toddler had maybe 15 minutes maximum of good mood in him.

Parents coming to me with concerns about the attention span of their toddlers is definitely a super common occurance. It's probably the number one worry new clients with young kids have when they're getting ready for their session. Add winter snow or summer heat and TBH they've probably got valid concerns! But I feel like this creates an opportunity to see a family in action and I kind of thrive on it.

When a toddler gets grouchy during photos, the best thing for us adults to do is get on their level. If they're hungry, let's feed 'em. If they want to run around and not be held, absolutely. If they want to sit with their dad and no one else because some stranger is pointing a big black cube at their face asking questions, I highly encourage it. The more relaxed and comfortable the kid feels, the better.

I love to see the ways parents bring their kids out of their shells the way they would at home.

When a photographer takes control and tells a wiggly kid where to sit, how to hold their hands, and what to laugh at, all we get are photos of kids doing things they would never do in any other circumstance. But when a parent entices their kid out of their shell with silly games, familiar tickles, and listening ears, we get photos of families being families. And that is my favorite!

Giving young kids something to be in charge of helps them feel comfortable and empowered.

As soon as I suggest to a small child that they choose who to take a photo with, their apprehension turns to excitement. Allowing them to lead the way to the next photo spot, letting them run or play for the camera, and giving them choice in what they're doing turns a situation where I'm controlling an unruly toddler into one where I'm watching and documenting a little personality at work. I really encourage this type of empowerment even before the session begins when they're helping choose their outfit or figuring out the location. Spending time with our kids in familiar places that mean something to everyone helps them feel relaxed.