There are some recipes for success, and I think a one-year old in a tutu with a birthday cake has got to be one of them. Some kids need permission to be messy, even at age one. This sweetheart started by picking off the decorations on the top of the cake and nibbling. We helped her along a little bit so she'd understand that yes, the cake was hers, and yes, she could just get into it. Literally -- into it. We were prepared for a crazy mess with cake and frosting on the walls. But nope, just toes in the frosting. At some point, she was done eating and playing and it was all over. She lifted her hands, looked at mom and seemed to say, "I am done."
One of the tricks to photographing little ones is recognizing that "I am done" expression. It will come. Whether it's having too much frosting on one's hands or just feeling bored with the photo shoot, it will happen. I find that being ready ahead of time helps the photo shoot. If I know what my plan is and keep it moving, I'm more likely to get what we set out to do. Of course kids can change any plan and letting it flow a bit makes the shoot go better. So I try to start with a plan, but watch what the child is doing -- and if throwing crayons in the air make her happy, let's throw crayons. It's all fun. And the photos will reflect that.
Cake, Onesie and Tutu
with 2 Alien Bee Lights (one with large softbox, the fill with umbrella), ISO 200, 1/200, f8.0, 17-55mm 2.8 lens at 26 mm