You've heard of Baby-Led weaning, but what is Baby-Led photography? Well it's not an official term but it does help to explain how sessions with your little ones (not just babies but toddlers and children too) are handled here at Joy Photography. The little models set the pace, the energy and often the poses for the session. If they don't want to sit on the suitcase and just want to look out of the window and play peekaboo behind the curtain, then that's what we'll do (and btw these make some of my favourite images). And if they don't want to wear that headband or hat or feel more comfortable in the nudd, then so be it (again there's nothing sweeter than a cute dimply baby bum!). If your little one is feeling sleepy, shy, grumpy, high energy, silly or crazy then that is what we will capture.
Many parents do come to sessions hoping their gallery will be full of the biggest beaming smiles and together we can put plans in place to make sure this is as likely as possible, but unfortunately this is never a guarantee. If they are not finding the songs, games, or toys smile-inducing then we will simply capture their other expressions; be it coy, serious, pensive or even having a good old tantrum. Smiles are definitely not the be all and end all! Many of my favourite photos of my own boys feature a wide range of expressions and show lots of different sides of their personalities. Usually sessions result in plenty of different expressions which all tell a lovely story of different aspects of your little one's personality.
I have lots of experience of little ones of all different personalities and in all different moods (nothing phases me!) so I will adapt the session to them and go with their flow. Some tots come in and they're all smiles and just a silly face from me will get them belly laughing. Others arrive clinging to their care giver and not daring to venture a look at this new person and place which is equally valid. Many wary little ones soon come round with a bit of time and a few games and toys, but others don't and that is okay too.
And you can help too. Be ready to join in with the silly songs and games. And be ready to use the noises and expressions and games which you know make your little one happy. Please note it is helpful if you are also crouched down behind me and the camera so baby is looking towards the camera as they watch you make a fool of yourself behind me ;-). As you know our little ones are also very led by their carers own feelings, moods and attitudes, especially in a new environment and situation. If their loved ones are relaxed and seem to have a good rapport with the photographer then they are more likely to take this lead and warm to this new strange lady with the big camera. Therefore we will take a bit of time at the start of the session to have a chat and get to know each other and create a happy and relaxed atmosphere for everyone.
Do let me know before the session if your baby has certain personality traits or triggers it would be helpful for me to know about. Do they tend to need a little time to warm up to new situations and people, or do they have a fear of bubbles or balloons or loud noises? Does a certain song, phrase or sound light them up? Also think about what time of day your little one is at their best? Are they more chilled in a morning, or just after they wake from their nap? And what environment would be best for them? Would the warm confines of the studio suit them or do they need a big open outdoor space to let off steam or even in their own home and garden for more of a lifestyle session?
My main aim in all my photography sessions is to accommodate my little models wants and needs and put them first and of course create a beautiful and varied gallery for you to pick your favourite images from.