Childhood Session Guide 

childhood prep guide

What to expect...

In your email, I've sent you the time and location of where we'll be meeting. Please give me a call if you're having trouble finding me. The time I give you is when we'll be getting the best light. Please be sure to arrive on time as once the light is gone, it's gone. Your session will last between 15 and 45 minutes (depending on which package you purchased). I will coach your child into various poses and prompt her to move around and have fun. We will play games, giggle, and be silly. My goal is to capture who your child is right now, not to make your child do anything stiff or unnatural. I promise, we will have a lot of fun!

How to prepare...

Tell your child they're going to go hang out and play with an old friend. Show them pictures of me and of my work on Instagram (@madisonthomsonphotography). This will help them feel a little familiar with what and who to expect. And relax! Let me do the work and worry about how your child is behaving and just have fun! I want to capture the sweetness, silliness, and innocence of childhood and if you're worried about how your child is acting, that is what I'm going to capture from them. I just want to see them and capture them as they are. I encourage you to make this a fun experience. Instead of bribing your child with a treat (which can back fire when a little child doesn't understand why they can't have their ice cream Right Now!), make this a feel good day. Make plans to go out for dinner or a treat before or after the session. Not as a reward but as part of the overall experience. I will worry about your kids behavior, you just need to show up prepared to have hang out and relax.

What to wear...

I am documenting your child as they are right now, so keep it real by wearing what your child tends to feel comfortable in and enjoy wearing (when my daughter was 3 years old, that was only a dress, every single day).  I recommend steering away from t-shirts with logos or bold patterns. Very bright colors (orangey hues in particular) are hard to photograph correctly so I recommend avoiding those as well. 

You know your child best. You know if it's a good idea to get changed before heading to the session or to bring her outfit to the session and change right before, in order to minimize the likelihood of a messy outfit before pictures even start. Try not to give them any food or drink while they're in their clothes until after the session.

Cake Smashes

If we’re doing a cake smash, here are some tips and instructions specifically for you!

Inspo: Here is a girl cake smash pinterest board and here is a boy cake smash pinterest board.

Cake:You are in charge of purchasing and bringing your own cake. You can make it yourself or you can purchase one already made at most local grocery stores or ask them to make one to your specific colors for under $20. You want to get a 6-8 inch round cake. Or you can purchase a cake from a local bakery. Usually they have their “classic designs” for around $45-65 but if you want a completely custom cake they generally start at $75 and go up from there. Two local cake bakeries I love are Frosted Cakery and Sweet Beginnings. Alternative ideas to a cake smash would be a donut smash, pancake smash, spaghetti slurp, a taco smash…etc. Whatever is fun, messy, and yummy for your 1 year old to enjoy eating with their hands.

Props: Many parents have a theme in mind for their child’s first birthday. Many bring whatever props and decor they’re planning on using for the birthday to their child’s cake smash which is a great way to use those items multiple times and to have images that coordinate with your party theme. Items that I have and can bring are: canvas teepee tent (useful for creating a backdrop and hanging banners on if we’re outside), white ceramic cake plate (fits up to 8in round cakes), medium brown wooden crate (to use as a cake plate), blue ribboned “ONE” banner, gold and silver stars banners, pink quilt, and blue quilt. Please let me know if you think you’d like me to bring any of those items.

Day of: We will meet at our agreed upon location. You bring the baby and the cake. I’ll help set everything up and take a few pictures of baby with mom and dad and alone before cake is presented. We’ll then present the cake and let them go at it. Some kids are timid and don’t smash it all up, but that’s okay! It’s still adorable and still captures who they are right now. Other kids go crazy with that cake and tear into it. I recommend bringing a towel, change of clothes and wipes. Once our time is up, you’ll clean up baby and I’ll take care of everything else. I try to make this as easy as possible for you! Just let me know if there’s anything else I can do to make it easier for you!

Final thoughts... 

Ultimately, I want your child to enjoy this experience as much as I enjoy capturing it. It’s ok to be a bit nervous. I have three little children myself and know how unpredictable they can be! But I can guarantee you that you will not regret having these memories to cherish. Let me give you the gift of freezing time for your child, and capturing who they are at this moment. I can't wait to see you and make some magic.