This recent session was a first for me. A photoshoot for a toddler turning two years old.
Big learning curve. Big. Huge.
I’m not really one for props during a family shoot but for this one we had a ginormous birthday cake (that Mom brought), a combination of pink, blue and white helium balloons, soapy bubbles, magenta and white spotted pennant flags blowing in the breeze, a picnic blanket, two loving parents and a feisty 2 year old involved.
Thankfully Mr T and my lovely step-daughter Sharon were on hand to help.
We hid the cake, balloons and bubbles away and began taking photographs just like a regular Family Photo Session. Miss A wasn’t too sure what all the fuss was about but soon got into the swing of things.
Two year olds aren’t terrible and being two isn’t easy. Imagine yourself experiencing the greatest brain development of your entire life with your brain making 700 new neural connections every second. Add to that the inconvenience of having 90% of your behaviour driven by emotional not logical impulses all day long.
You lack the ability to construct a sentence comprising of more than two words, let alone the verbal skills to express yourself properly. Your pronunciation sucks and only half of what you say is understandable.
You’re beginning to realise that you’re a separate entity from your parents and slowly gaining independence but a lot of the things you want to do by yourself you haven’t quite got the hang of yet. So frustrating. I know a few adults that would have a complete conniption with a lot less provocation.
It’s challenging and hardly surprising that when you’re two years old, you’re able to run through a gamut of emotions in a short space of time without breaking a sweat.
Bubbles are so exciting when you see them for the first time but less exciting when you lack the co-ordination to blow the bubbles by yourself .
Happiness turns to tears pretty quickly but just as quickly when Mom spins you around a little and plays with you, all is right with the world again.
Woo hoo! She sees the first one of her balloons, this one is not filled with helium though, we give it to her but after a couple of bounces on the grass it bursts with a loud pop! No tears this time because something else has caught her interest…
She spied this old Golden Retriever taking himself for a walk through the playground, having three of her own big dogs at home she thought she’d made a new friend and ran over to say hello. He had no intention of stopping though, he was on a doggie mission. She understood completely and decided to keep him company, they moved so fast I could hardly keep up with them both and could only get images from behind.
When they’d wandered far enough we had to bring her back and yep, you guessed it, tears again.
Then on to the picnic blanket and the cake, which was a tad confusing at first but once Mom and Dad joined in, she rose to the occasion like a champ.
Here Dad, you can have this while I get stuck into the best part.
The cake soon became abandoned for the helium balloons but Mom and Dad wanted to change into their traditional Venda outfits for the last part of the shoot and little Miss A was not happy.
Mr T and Sharon to the rescue! They grabbed the bunch of balloons, tied them to her wrist and voilà she’s completely delighted and enthralled all at the same time.
This is my favourite image from the session, the light is just perfect. It highlights her ebony skin and tear-stained cheeks but her face is calm, her eyes are wide and she’s completely ready to embrace her next adventure.
As for me and my wonderful helpers, we were ready to pack up, head home, put our feet up and suck down a couple of well deserved glasses of Chenin Blanc.
Till next time peeps, may the force be with you.