We have used the same photographer since he was 6 months old, and she is seriously awesome.
This fall rolled around and I had a panic attack.
I realized I had not scheduled Mason's yearly photos, and the list of items we need to purchase before baby #2 joins us is getting seemingly longer by the second.
Though we are spared a lot of the actual "baby" purchases, there are simply a lot of things that we have had on our list of "items needed" since Mason was born that we've just not gotten around to taking care of. Now that the reality is setting in of double the daycare costs, double the clothing costs, double the (everything) costs, I am sort of in a panic to budget our lives out for the next 5 1/2 months and get as many things taken care of as I can.
Unfortunately, that meant putting "hiring a photographer" on the back burner until after baby #2 arrives.
I decided to just go for it.
We'd take the photos ourselves.
As a family.
So there-in lies a few tips that I picked up for getting semi-decent shots of your little one, if a photographer is not currently in your budget plan.
1) Buy a tripod.
I ended up purchasing one (via suggestion of another blogger) on Amazon for around $15 bucks.
I wouldn't trust the thing with a windgust over 15 mph, however, for my purposes the cheaper, the better.
It seemed to work just fine!
This is kind of a no-brainer if you're going to use the tripod for portraits, but I honestly had never even tried using my self-timer until about 10 minutes before we left to go take the pictures.
It is really simply to figure out, and completely necessary if every person is going to be in the photos.
3) Pick a good time of day
You may think I'm implying a time of day when the light is good.
When you're taking photographs with a toddler (particularly) you need to accommodate your schedule to their schedule.
This means picking a time of day when they won't be tired or hungry.
Am I the only one who schedules appointments based on Mason's schedule as it goes 99% of the time, and the day we have the appointment is the day his schedule completely falls off the map?
He won't go down for his nap on time, he won't eat his lunch, etc.
This way we were able to wait until he woke up from his nap, throw him in the tub, give him a snack, and off we went :)
Generally I am the designated photo-taker in the family, however, I had the vision of getting the shot above of Mason and I together with the baby bump, and I trusted Steven to take it more than I trusted running and positioning ourselves within the 10 seconds the timer would allow. Don't be afraid to let someone else control the camera so you can get every shot you want out of the trip.
As much as we'd all like to have a photo shoot where your toddler follows every instruction to a "t", it just doesn't happen.
In fact, some of the best photos are when they're doing exactly the opposite of what you were hoping they would for a photo.
We came into this experience with no expectations at all.
When we pulled up to the park, I asked Mason if he wanted to "go outside and run around", because I knew that would get him excited for the time we were there. And it worked beautifully. He honestly did just run around, and had a blast. All I had to do was try to stay a few steps ahead of him as explored, pointed things out, ran in circles, etc so I could get as many shots of his front as possible. Relinquish control to your toddler (just this once) and enjoy the results!
However, they are good-enough for me and were 100% within our budget...$0 (unless you count the tripod, then $15).