Why a Mommy and Me Photography Session is My Favorite

Maybe it's because I'm mama myself, but I absolutely LOVE capturing the bond between a mother and her child through photography. It's a bond that begins before baby even leaves the womb and it continues to evolve from birth through adulthood. Every chapter of motherhood has its challenges, which makes the beautiful moments something we want to hang on to forever. There is no bond like motherhood and the unconditional love a mom feels for her child. This is something I want to capture for every mommy.

mommy in a dress walking and looking back at her toddler son in a lush green park
mommy hugging her toddler son smiling at the camera during a photography session in a des moines park

Lucky Des Moines Mom

In May I hosted a giveaway with Des Moines Mom for a free 30 minute Motherhood Session for one of their lucky readers. Anna was the lucky winner and was thrilled to be able to capture the bond she has with her (almost) two-year-old son. I sent my client questionnaire prior to planning this "Mommy and Me" Motherhood Session for her and she told me that more than anything she wanted a good photo of herself and her son looking at the camera with genuine smiles. As a mother who has raised two toddlers myself, I knew how much it would mean to her to get this "not always easy to capture" shot. And I couldn't wait!

detail photography of a mommy holding her toddler son's hand as they walk
toddler son sitting in front of smiling mommy in a lush green des moines park

Planning Her Mommy and Me Photography Session

When planning an outdoor photo session that includes a toddler, I always consider his/her bedtime as it usually falls before sunset in the late Spring and Summer months. As much as I love sunset sessions, I will choose a happy toddler over golden hour light any day. (Because who wants photos of a fussy, overtired kiddo no matter how beautiful the setting and light is?) I chose a location with thick, tall trees knowing they would block out the evening sun that would still be high in the sky at the time of their session. And even though we ended up with overcast skies, this is still the location I would have chosen to keep too much overhead light from creating unflattering shadows.

As for wardrobe, I suggested light neutrals or pastels as I knew they would create a pleasing contrast against the natural green background. I also emphasized that mama should wear something that makes her feel beautiful and that she can easily move around in as she would be doing a lot of holding, sitting, squatting and chasing her sweet toddler. (The dress she chose was perfect - and I love the added detail of the tie in the back.)

mommy squatting down and kissing her toddler son
toddler son smiling at camera in foreground while mommy is looking at him from a distance

This Is (Almost) Two

During every motherhood session I try to capture individual portraits as well as the "Mommy and Me" shots. Since Anna's son was on the verge of turning two in a couple of weeks, I wanted to document this special milestone and his (almost) two year old characteristics and personality. Anna had warned me that he may need a little time to warm up at first. So when they arrived, I took some time to casually engage with him (without my camera) so I could earn his trust. He warmed up immediately and loved running back and forth between Mommy, who was positioned in our photo setting, and Daddy (who was standing behind me and there to help elicit some genuine smiles out of him.)

When photographing toddlers, my primary goal is to keep them happy. About half of our time together was spent letting this little guy run around, look at the photos I just took on the back of my camera, show off his "monster walk" and take some water breaks. By letting him do what makes him happy, not only was I able to capture what he's really like at this age, it was also easier for Mommy to scoop him into her arms for a few of those "looking at the camera with genuine smiles" photos that she really wanted.

toddler son chasing mommy while doing his monster walk
toddler son drinking from his sippy cup during a photography session water break
mommy and toddler son sitting on blanket in park smiling at the camera
happy toddler boy smiling at the camera with his tongue out at lush green des moines park
close up of toddler boy looking into the camera smiling during spring photography session in Des Moines
mommy carrying her toddler son through a lush green park in des moines
toddler son looking over mommy's shoulder and smiling at the camera with his tongue out

From One Mommy to Another

I am absolutely in love with the final photos in this Mommy and Me gallery and I'm thrilled that Anna felt the same way:

"WOW!!!! Jill, you captured us perfectly and R's inner-spirit animal (which is not easy to do!) Blake and I are AMAZED at how wonderful these turned out."

Besides capturing spontaneous moments, creating connected moments and curating a gallery that tells a story for my clients, it is equally important to me to create a relaxed experience during the session as I know how stressful it can be hoping your toddler cooperates in front of the camera. So when Anna sent me this message before she even saw her gallery, it made my day:

"Jill - I just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you for such a positive experience yesterday. You were so kind and patient with R, and you also made Blake and I feel very comfortable. By far, this was the best photo session we've had R involved in. Thank you again!" - Anna 

A wonderful experience + photos you'll cherish for a lifetime - what more could a mommy want from a session? Let's start planning yours today!