The day I took my son for his first sitting at a portrait studio, all the elements for a perfect storm were in place. He was tired, hungry, and not pleased with the stiff-collared shirt he was wearing. The last straw? Sitting him alone on top of a waist-high platform that wobbled unsteadily. The mission was aborted in a fit of wailing tears, and I learned my lesson.
Here’s what I wish I’d known then:
Practice Makes Perfect.
Consider the baby’s point of view. They’re left alone in front of bright lights and a camera—then a stranger begins wheedling for smiles. Scary stuff for a tiny person!
Call it a run-through or call it a rehearsal, but a trial run will familiarize your child with how it works. Seat them alone on the floor, move back, point your camera, and encourage a smile.
What Not to Wear.
Take a cue from my own misfortune: no itchy collars, please. Consider comfortable outfits that allow them to move freely and also feel soft on their skin. Cooler clothes are also better because it can get warm under the studio lights. Always bring an equally adorable back-up outfit just in case.
Food + Sleep = Happiness.
Happy babies will smile and cooperate for a picture much easier than babies who are waiting for a feeding, or need a nap. The tricky part is figuring out the right time of day. Try to schedule it soon after their morning nap, and feed them just before their appointment.
When to Say When.
Even if all the stars align and you’ve prepared, baby may just not want to cooperate. A total meltdown will likely continue to spiral. Call it a day and remember that babies change and mature quickly! We rescheduled our appointment for a month later and it made all the difference.
Traci L. Suppa thinks time travel is the only explanation for her son turning 13 this year. Her six-year old daughter brings the glam to their crazy household. In addition to her own family travel blog, Go BIG or Go Home, Traci is a contributing blogger for FamilyVacationCritic.com and has written for WomansDay.com and NewParent.com.