I do my best to ensure families are prepared for their sessions and know what to expect, when they arrive. The prep guide I send, ideally, should help the session run smoothly BUT one thing I have learned is that toddlers are totally unpredictable! There is no way to know how they will respond to this new experience and that is OK!
Sometimes the challenges come when they have a new baby and they are learning to cope with that. Sometimes they might be tired or hungry and are just unable to function, and sometimes it is something you’d never expect, that sets them off.
This sweet big brother was totally happy and excited until it was time to change into the clothes for his shoot (we tried many options and the clothes themselves didn’t matter). He just didn’t want to change out of what he was wearing, so we rolled with it and took the photos in his clothes from home. If there is one thing I learned as a parent, it is that you can’t make a toddler do anything they don’t want to do!
This is why I have such an odd disclaimer in my session contract:
“The Client shall assist and cooperate with the Photographer in obtaining the desired photographs. The Photographer shall not be responsible for photographs not taken as a result of the Client’s failure to provide reasonable assistance or cooperation.” — Jen Isackson Photography Contract
It is because of toddlers LOL! I especially like the ‘provide reasonable assistance or cooperation’. It brings back a LOT of memories of my unreasonable toddlers. So try not to stress when your toddler has a meltdown (even though I know as a parent it IS totally stressful). Just know that you aren’t alone. All parents experience these moments and stand in solidarity with you.