The Toddler

In a recent post I shared images and thoughts from a recent infant portrait shoot. As a family portraitist, it’s necessary for me to switch gears from photographing sleepily content infants to stoically acquiescent husbands. More often than not, I find myself in the middle photographing toddlers.

Toddler photography is a large part of my business. Like all ages, toddlers vary in personality. Some are outgoing, others aloof, and some shy. This little guy was a shy one. In these cases I take it slow. I left my camera aside for a bit and chatted with him about some of his toys. I showed him I was harmless by petting his dog and joking with his parents. Eventually, I picked up my camera and photographed one of his toy trucks and showed him it on the camera LCD (kids love that one).

As I eased into photographing he clung to his parents and was not eager to look my way or smile, but during the hour I photographed he began to warm up and by the end of that hour was laughing with his parents about his favorite book and showing me his football.

Well, that’s a rather glossed over version of my progress with him. As happens, just when things were beginning to go well I did make the miscalculation of suggesting we go outside for some photos. We grabbed coats and went out into the wintery day and got some nice photos, but when he was stopped from playing on his snow-covered swing-set and brought back inside the portrait session was delayed for a short tantrum. All part of the process.

Breaking through the shyness of a child can be tough and is certainly a lot of work. So far I’ve been lucky. No portrait session has been completely ruined by my failure to eventually connect with a child. Even luckier, I have always had fun.

Matt Connors