First food and nap, then photos

How to avoid grouchy little subjects

A contented baby will smile, laugh and play. A hungry and/or tired baby will cry, squirm, and generally won’t be very cooperative or photogenic.

So I’ll state the obvious: Photograph a fed, rested baby. Don’t photograph a tired, hungry one.

This is easier said than done, unless you are photographing your own child and can control the schedule and environment. But if you’re running a part- or full-time portrait studio (or aspire to one) and photo sessions are by appointment, getting the timing right can be challenging.

Now, that's one happy, rested, well-fed little tyke! Photo © Jaroslaw Wojcik/

So, prep the parents. They know Baby’s nap and feeding schedule, and shouldn’t schedule an appointment during the wrong time. Many parents will know this instinctively, but prompt them anyway.

This baby needs food and a nap, not a photo session!
Photo © Ekaterina Monakhova/




And when the proud parents bring happy baby to the studio (or you go to them), be prepared to shoot fast. Have your lights set up, your camera charged with film and/or fresh battery and memory card all in their places. After a couple of minutes of attentive play, baby will be ready to move on, even if you want to keep shoot.

After all, that little one has the attention span of...well, a baby.

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