5 Tips for Styling a Mommy & Me Photoshoot with Your Toddler
Let’s be honest, it’s so much easier taking photos of your infant, than say a toddler on the go, or worse, a first grader who’s too cool for school. (I got one of each, ya know.) When they’re an infant, you can take all the cute flatlays you want, or tote ‘em around in endless adorable poses without any protest. But there comes a time when your wee babe turns into a mobile toddler, and since not everyone has access to a professional photographer for their family photos, I’ll share a few simple tips on how to style a Mommy & Me photoshoot yourself that won’t cost a thing. Read on to up your photo game.
1. Theme. First things first, think about a theme. It doesn’t have to be grand. It could be some small habit in your day-to-day. We’re going to take that idea and apply it to a styled shoot. Is there something your little one loves to do? Read books? Watch buses and trucks go by? Eat cookies all day long? Kidding on that last one, but not really… head on over to tip #2.
2. Location/Setting. Now that you’ve got a theme in mind, pick a location to shoot that makes sense with it. Does your child love cookies? Why not head to a local bakery or sweet shop to capture their delight in that first bite? Does he like watching buses and trucks? Go take a hike downtown and capture some fun moments on a street bench as your little one ooohhhs and aaahhhs at all the things that go by.
My Atticus loves books and magazines. As he’s barely two, obviously this means he just likes to read with me, flip through stuff, look at pictures, point at things on the pages, etc. But it’s a sweet characteristic of him at this age that I really wanted to document, because neither of my other two boys were this interested in quietly flipping through books on their own or snuggling up to listen to me read. Every morning after I nurse him, he and I spend at least 30 minutes reading the same 10 books. (His current faves are “Max’s Bedtime” and “Max’s New Suit” from the Max & Ruby bunny series.) I chose downtown Princeton because I wanted city vibes for this series of Mommy & Me photos, and we walk by this cute newsstand all the time so it seemed like a natural setting for my chosen theme. Plus, Atticus can never resist opening and closing the little newsstand doors and rearranging the covers.
3. Twinning. Or at least coordinating. I mean, this is really the hallmark of any good Mommy & Me photo, right, and it will make your photo shoot look that much more put together. They won’t be little forever and soon they won’t dare be seen twinning with you, so document it while you still can. It’s always safe to wear neutral, solid colors for a timeless look, but by all means, don’t be afraid to inject some personality with a fun print or accessory. You don’t have to go out and buy new outfits, just work within your existing wardrobes.
4. Posing. Candids are great, of course, and probably the easiest to capture if you have a fast-moving mini. But there’s something special about a still pose, if you can get your toddler to cooperate for a few minutes. Luckily for me, mine thinks it’s funny when he copies what I’m doing, from how I stand to where I stand. I call him my little creative director. It’s really the sweetest thing right now about him! I never want to forget how he thinks he literally has to say “Cheese!” any time a camera or phone is pointed at him. It sounds more like “Eeeeee!” and he squints his eyes and scrunches up his nose.
5. Enlist a friend. Ask a girlfriend to help snap photos and offer to buy coffee, dessert, or heck, just trade photo shoots! (p.s. Mom friends want wine, just saying.) Set up the shot by snapping a photo of the setup you want and show it to them to recreate. A pro photographer friend taught me this trick and doing this really makes the overall process go smoother, trust me!
I know one day I’ll fondly look back on these Mommy & Me photos and think, Awww, remember that time when Atticus tried to copy the “one leg up” blogger pose like Momma? Nailed it!
Hope you enjoyed these tips on how to style your own Mommy & Me photoshoot. Now go and strike a pose!
Thank you to my girlfriend Ayzia for taking these Mommy & Me photos!