This post is in collaboration with The Portrait Studio. While I’ve been compensated for the post, all opinions are my own.
My son is a professional photography subject. He’s been photographed since he was minutes old, and for the first year of his life, I took photos of him every Wednesday and on the last day of each month – not to mention the daily cell phone shots I would take. We had a lot of professional photos taken of him during his second year, as well. I even had some maternity photos taken before he was born by someone like Olga Topchii! Photographs are so important and they’re things that I’ll treasure forever.
While he’s a pro, he is rarely cooperative. Some of his “professional” pictures look like smiling, happy family photos, when they really capture him crying. Our family portraits taken this past summer started with him glaring at the camera.
It’s only taken 4 years – and many photos – to figure out what helps him get through the entire photography process. We visited The Portrait Studio in Asheville this past Saturday and it was like night and day compared to our visit to a studio more than a year ago. I even have a DVD of more than 30 photos where he is genuinely smiling. I’m considering getting some aluminum prints to hang up around the house but I haven’t got round to choosing which pictures I want yet.
1. If your child is old enough to understand what’s about to happen, talk to them about the photographer the day before. And then the morning of. Let them know what to expect.
2. Ask your child what kind of photos they want to take. My son was in “squirrel mode” this past weekend. I warned the photographer and staff at The Portrait Studio and they went along with it. He would pretend to be a squirrel in between the real photos I wanted.
3. Keep the sessions short. While as a mom I would LOVE to have dozens of perfect shots, I know that I’m only going to hang a few in my home. A young child won’t have the attention span to allow an hour-long photo shoot to happen. When I called The Portrait Studio to set up my appointment, they let me know that the entire process would take about an hour to an hour and a half. (We were in and out in an hour.)
4. Come prepared with something for the child(ren) to do when you are dealing with selecting your photos. They aren’t going to want to sit still.
At The Portrait Studio, my son knew that someone he didn’t know was going to be taking photos of him. He ran right in and told the photographers his name. He saw the Lego table set up and was so excited to play, but I told him we couldn’t play with the Legos until we were done taking photos. He was mostly ok and when he’d get sidetracked, I reminded him of the play time he’d have after the photos were taken.
He was caught off guard when they switched out the backgrounds once, so they let him press the button for the next background change. Problem solved.
They double-teamed to get the shots they wanted, and make him smile. So many studios have the photographer acting as the entertainer and there is only so much the photographer can do at one time. The Portrait Studio handled my boy perfectly (even playing with him while I selected the perfect photos before we left.)
The selection process of our photos was quick and painless. The longest part was choosing the poses I wanted out of more than 30 good ones. They had packages that included so many prints plus the CD with all of the photos all the way down to selecting one or two poses. With each package, you could add on a photo book, calendar or canvas and there were other products we didn’t even get into. After I narrowed ours down to 6 poses, it took a few minutes of waiting for the CD to be ready, before we left. (My prints will be here later this week.)
The toughest part – after selecting the photographs I wanted – was getting my boy to leave the studio. Honestly, it took about 10 minutes to convince him to get to the door, and when we stepped outside he was furious with me. I’m already trying to plan our next visit, that will include the baby. There’s no sitting fee, so I can get newborn shots and family shots in one photo shoot and feel comforted that we’re getting the best photos of my family.
With such a great selection of backgrounds and activities, we will definitely be heading back. I knew I wanted something for Valentine’s Day, but now I have more ideas with their chalkboard and the ruler to measure the kids.
The Portrait Studio in Asheville is located at 1833 Hendersonville Road, Suite #170 (in Meridian Place). Be sure to visit their website to make an appointment and check them out on Facebook! To make things even sweeter, The Portrait Studio is running a Making Memories special right now – you can receive 20 portraits for $20!
Can you even handle these photos?
What tips do you have for photographing a young child?