Preparing for Child and Baby Photography

You’re getting ready for a child and baby photography session and what should you do? I’ve been a Los Angeles photographer of babies and children for over two decades with two LA portrait studios, with thousands of sessions under my belt, and I think I can give you some great advice and a glimpse into my world. I try to always have a positive, uplifting portrait session, but sometimes I have to make some calls that I don’t want to make.

Too often in a portrait photography session I experience people with outrageous expectations – – the woman who hates her body but wants it photographed nude, the well-endowed nose person who wants side angle images but doesn’t understand that they have to embrace their beauty first (think ala Barbra Streisand), and the parent who doesn’t understand why their child won’t behave in a way that wasn’t rehearsed. The list goes on.

I’m a big believer in parental expectations, as in, let your child know in advance, what you expect of them. Do it calmly and gradually. Talk and talk and talk about it in an encouraging way. Children need guidelines and boundaries. They want to know what you want them to do, but they need time to understand it, so you have to work at it slowly and over time.

Maternity Photography with Children, LA Portrait Studios
One of our favorite clients, this pregnant mom did pregnant nudes with her first child, and so it seemed fitting to include her daughter in this tender portrait.

Whenever I photograph maternity photography with children I recommend to the parents that they “practice”. Practice makes perfect and it’s no different in a child and baby photography session. If there is a pose you want to see on your walls, practice it first. Don’t wait for the portrait session to introduce it. Many parents want a portrait of their two year old holding the newborn baby, and that’s an unrealistic expectation. Not going to happen. Do you want the four year old holding the baby? Maybe. But practice it at home and give them tips on how to be gentle and safe. Even the 10 year old needs practice and help.

Child and Baby Photography, LA Portrait Studios
This little boy was surprisingly calm holding his newborn baby sibling.

Talk to you children about being gentle with their new sibling. Most children don’t know they’re own strength. Yes, they know their own exuberance but it tends to get played out physically. One interesting phenomenon, as a baby photographer, that I witness over and over again is what I call the Younger Child Syndrome. Most parents aren’t aware of it, but I’ve seen it time and time again. A baby has only so many defenses and their instincts are sharp.

So, often, when an exuberant toddler comes around the baby starts to fuss. Why? Because they KNOW danger instinctively. When they start to fuss they are asking for help from what they perceive as a danger. So the more you practice at home with your child hanging out with your newborn baby, in a mellow way, the more they both will benefit. The more you practice loving and gentleness with your toddler, even before your baby is born, the tighter their bond will be.

And the more your child and baby photography portrait will be a success! I’m all about that.

I’m a portrait photographer and I’ve seen it all over the last 20+ years.

Written by Linnea Lenkus

Linnea Lenkus

Linnea Lenkus has been a photographer for over 20 years. She specializes in studio photography in Southern California, having a portrait studio in Long Beach that is equidistant to Orange County and Los Angeles County. She is well known for her finer lighting techniques, the authentic feeling of her poses and for exceptional maternity, baby and family portrait photography.

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