What If Your Toddler Won't Cooperate At The Photo Shoot? | Seattle Family Photographer

I’m been a family photographer for almost twenty years.

Before that I was a preschool and kindergarten teacher.

I’m also a mother to twin boys.

At this point in my life I feel it’s safe to say that I “get” kids. And one thing that I know for sure is this… sometimes children, especially toddlers, don’t do what you want them to do!

Ha!

Shocking, I know!

I also know that this particular character trait can be REALLY frustrating, especially at a photoshoot! So let me tell you how I handle toddlers who do NOT want to cooperate.

I Never Force Them To Do Something They Don’t Want To Do

I have learned over the years that the best way to bring on a meltdown is to try to get a toddle to do something they don’t want to do. So if your toddlers is giving me a hard no, I will respect that.

What I’ve found is when we don’t force the issue, they usually come around.

For example, in the photos below, the mom really wanted a picture of her toddler with the new baby.

Her toddler however, was NOT interested.

So instead of forcing the issue. We just waited. Eventually he decided that he was a little curious about what we were doing. I asked him questions about himself and about the baby. Things like “can you show me where your ear is? Can you show me where the baby’s ear is?”… and eventually we get the shots!

I Try to Make The Photoshoot Fun

I always have lots of toys and things for your toddler to do at the studio. Most of the time, it takes older kids a few minutes to warm up to me, and having fun activities for them to engage with is a great way to get them loosened up and ready for pictures!

I Have LOTS of Stickers and Lollipops

Because a little bribery never hurts, I have a tons of stickers and lollipops on hand!

I Have a Sense of Humor

Like I said, I’ve worked with kids for a really long time. So if your child doesn’t cooperate or has a little melt down, please do not worry about me or what I think. I get it. I’m a mom too!

Remember, photos are meant to capture your child as they are now. There is now right and no wrong. And I’ve been doing this for a really long time… I’m confident that we will get photos you will love!

sandra coan photography | seattle washington studio lighting and film photographer | baby and brother on bed and brother doesn't want to pose with new baby
sandra coan photography | seattle washington studio lighting and film photographer | baby and brother on bed and brother doesn't want to pose with new baby
sandra coan photography | seattle washington studio lighting and film photographer | baby and brother on bed and brother doesn't want to pose with new baby
sandra coan photography | seattle washington studio lighting and film photographer | baby and brother on bed and brother doesn't want to pose with new baby
sandra coan photography | seattle washington studio lighting and film photographer | baby and brother on bed and brother doesn't want to pose with new baby
sandra coan photography | seattle washington studio lighting and film photographer | baby and brother on bed and brother doesn't want to pose with new baby
sandra coan photography | seattle washington studio lighting and film photographer | baby and brother on bed and brother doesn't want to pose with new baby
sandra coan photography | seattle washington studio lighting and film photographer | baby and brother on bed and brother doesn't want to pose with new baby
How to Prepare for Your Newborn Photo Session | Seattle Newborn Photographer

There is nothing like those first few days at home with your new baby.

So full of love. So full of awe! And SO tired! Ha! I remember it well!

It’s seems like everything you do, even just simple every day tasks, is new. No longer can you just go hop in your car and run to the store, for example. Now you have to get the baby ready, fed, diaper changed, in the carseat, buckled… then you can go out to the car and to the store. It can all be overwhelming to say the least.

I recommend that families come in for their newborn photos within the first 10 days. And I know how hard it can be to just make it out the door in the early days! So let me help make it a little easier by sharing what you need to know to prepare for your newborn photo session.

how to prepare for your newborn photo session with Sandra Coan, Seattle newborn photographer

How to Prepare Your Baby

Try to change and feed the baby right before you leave. A dry and well fed baby will likely fall asleep in the car on the way to the studio, and I’m REALLY good at being able to get sleeping babies out of the carseat and onto the bed at my studio without waking them up!

Most babies who come to the studio asleep will stay asleep for their entire session!

How To Dress Your Baby

Don’t worry about bringing fancy outfits. I find that newborns are best photographed in a simple swaddle or in just their diaper. So save yourself the trouble, and leave the outfits at home.

Feel Free To Bring Heirlooms And Special Items

Yes, I know I just said that I prefer to photograph babies in just their diapers, but if you have the blanket you came home from the hospital in or if Grandma spent eight month hand making something special for the baby…. bring them! Those things are important and I will do my best to incorporate them into your photos.

Expect To Be In The Photos

How to prepare for newborn photos with Sandra Coan, Seattle's best newborn photographer

I always take a few photos of the parents with their new baby at each session, so come prepared! I find that neutral colors work best, and try to stay away from clothing with patters or logos.

Have Fun (And A Sense Of Humor)

My goal is to have your newborn session be relaxing and fun, but sometime newborns have their own plans.

If your baby cries. If they pee or poop on the studio bed, or even on me…. it’s okay!! I’ve been working with newborns for almost 20 years, and I’m the mother of twins. I’ve seen it all and nothing phases me… I promise.

Your photo session is a time to celebrate your baby and your new family! So enjoy it!

Oh, And One More Thing

If despite your best made plans, things happen and you’re running late, no worries… just give me a call or shoot me a text to let me know!

And if you have any other questions about now to prepare, fell free to send me an email at sandra@sandracoan.com.





The Value of Consistency in Family Photos | Seattle Family Studio Photography

I often get emails from clients concerned about the fact that I shoot in the studio. Their worry is that if they come in to the same location year after year, their photos will all look the same. Wouldn’t it be better to visit a new location each year for variety?

Now, I know that I’m a little biased. I LOVE studio photography! But I also think there are real benefits to having studio portraits done every year.

For one, it’s a great way to see and compare the changes in your children.

In a studio, there are no distractions. The focus is just on your kids and your family and the simple backdrop I use in the studio allows them to be the focus, not the location.

I also love the consistency! My goal is to always produce one or two images at each session that will be printed and hung on a wall. A wall display of studio images throughout the years is beautiful to me. Clean and timeless!

And as for the concern that your photos will all look the same, remember that your kids are constantly growing. Each time you come into the studio they will be in a differently place in their lives. So while you will have consistency in the style of your images, your photos will never look the same because your family won’t look the same. Each year there is something new to capture.

So don’t worry. If you, like me, love the timeless look of studio photography, just go with it! And image what a great collection of family photos you will have to share with your kids when they grow up! I personally can’t think of anything better!

2016 family session:

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2017 family session:

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2018 family session:

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2018, Year in Review | Seattle Family Photography

2018 was a big year for me!

I traveled around the country teaching other professionals about business, film and light. I worked along side of a handful of other amazing photographers to Beta test Kodak’s new Ektachrome 100. And, most importantly, I photographed hundreds of families, babies and individuals!

I’ve said it over and over again… I truly have the best clients! And 2018 was no exception.

To all the families who entrusted me with their photos, I want to say thank you! It is always such an honor to work with you! And I look forward to seeing you again in 2019!

xoxo,
Sandra

Seattle newborn and maternity photographer sandra coan
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Seattle studio photographer Sandra Coan
Seattle family photographer, Sandra coan
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Seattle Family photographer sandra coan
Seattle fine art studio photographer, Sandra Coan
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Sandra Coan studio photography shot on film
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Santa is Back in Seattle! | Seattle Studio Photographer

That's right… Santa is back in Seattle! Here’s your chance to dress your kids up in those cute holiday outfits and make sure they get their letters and wish lists to the big guy himself!

Santa is joining us in the studio on Saturday, November 24th to spread a little holiday cheer! This magical five-minute session with Santa is $105 for the sitting fee, online gallery, and digital files from your session or $75 for just the sitting fee and online gallery. All you have to do is select the date/time to reserve your spot and pay when you get here!

If you need a little outfit inspiration, check out this Pinterest board for cute fall and holiday looks!

As always, we will be using this event to give back to our community.  This year we will be collecting donations of food, socks, underwear and toys for the Greenwood Family Works Food and Resource Center.

We're excited to see you there!!

Sandra & Santa

Time to Schedule Your Holiday Mini Session | Seattle Studio Photography

It’s that time of year again, friends!
Cozy sweaters, foggy mornings, changing leaves. Oh how I love Fall in Seattle. What better way to jump into the season than to schedule your holiday mini session? Scroll down to learn more and to reserve your spot before they’re gone!

seattle mini sessions holiday portrait family photography
seattle mini sessions holiday portrait family photography

Family Mini Sessions

seattle mini sessions holiday portrait family photography

On November 10th and 11th, I will be hosting mini sessions at my Greenwood studio. These fun 15-minute sessions are great for holiday cards and family portraits! The price of a mini session is $175: non-refundable deposit of $50 saves your session date/time and $100 is due at the session!

Digital files, albums and gift prints can be added to your package at the time of the session.

Santa in Seattle

seattle santa mini sessions holiday portrait family photography

Santa is taking a day off from the North Pole to join us in the studio on November 24th and to spread a little holiday cheer! This magical five-minute session with Santa is $105 for the sitting fee, online gallery, and digital files from your session or $75 for just the sitting fee and online gallery. All you have to do is select the date/time to reserve your spot and pay when you get here!

seattle mini sessions holiday portrait family photography

Can’t wait to see you there!

How To Get the Most Out Of Your Maternity Photo Shoot | Seattle Maternity Photography
Seattle Maternity Photography Sandra Coan Black and White maternity images in studio

Pregnancy is an amazing time and there is no better way to celebrate it than with a portrait session!

To get the most out of your session however, there are a few things you should know.

When is the best time to come in for a maternity session?

It really just depends on how big you would like your baby bump to be in your photos.  I recommend, any time between 29 weeks to 36 weeks.

Just don’t wait too long, you’d hate to go into labor and miss your shoot.  And yes, this happens!

Try to avoid wearing anything that will leave a mark

When we’re pregnant, our bodies retain a lot of extra fluid which means things like elastic waistbands, socks and elastic hair bands worn around your wrist will leave a mark on your skin.  We want you skin to look as smooth as possible, so avoid anything elastic!

The tighter the better

Loose maternity clothing is super comfortable, but doesn’t always look great in photos.  When it come to your maternity portraits, remember, the tighter the clothes, the better! We want to show off that belly!

Don’t be afraid to show some skin

Nude and semi nude maternity images are often my favorite!  I have all the fabric we need for draping and will always photograph you in a tasteful and beautiful way!  So take advantage of the studio setting, and show a little skin!

Husbands, partners, kids and wives…. The more the merrier

I’m often ask if other family members can be in some of the photos and the answer is YES!  These are your portraits and your moment to celebrate this amazing time in your life. So you can include anyone you would like to in your photos!

Seattle Maternity Photography Sandra Coan Black and White maternity images of woman wearing a tight black dress in studio
Seattle Maternity Photography Sandra Coan Black and White maternity image of a couple together in studio
Seattle Maternity Photography Sandra Coan Black and White maternity photo profile of a woman in studio
What to Wear for Babies and Kids | Seattle Studio Photography

I frequently get emails and questions from clients about what to wear or how to dress their kids for their studio session with me. If you're a photographer, I'm sure you can relate! And as a parent, I totally get it. Although my boys dress themselves and have for a while now, figuring out outfits for families can be tough. 

So, we've put together a roundup of some of our favorite outfits and clothing items we've seen in the studio for 2018 so far. 

You can also find more outfit inspiration by heading over to my Pinterest page!

seattle studio photographer what to wear family photography how to dress your kids | sandra coan photography

Simple white onesie with an adorable winter hat.

seattle studio photographer what to wear family photography how to dress your kids | sandra coan photography
seattle studio photographer what to wear family photography how to dress your kids | sandra coan photography

Simple neutrals, matching dresses and cute headbands. 

what to wear for your studio session with sandra coan photography sisters in matching blue dresses

More matching! Three sisters in light blue dresses.

what to wear to your studio session with sandra coan photography seattle baby photographer

Whites and pastels are always a good idea. And bows!

pink seersucker dress studio portrait seattle photographer sandra coan
light blue seersucker overalls studio photography in seattle | sandra coan family photography

Seersucker always looks so cute! And I love the pastel colors.

light blue seersucker overalls | seattle family studio photography sandra coan

The sweetest light blue, seersucker overalls. Those button details!!

what to wear studio photography seattle family photographer sandra coan
what to wear seattle studio photography sandra coan

More colorful, patterned outfits look great on film as well! I love that these siblings went with coordinating outfits as opposed to perfectly matching.

sandra coan photography what to wear to the studio for babies and kids
sandra coan photography what to wear to the studio seattle family photographer
sandra coan photography what to wear to the studio seattle family photographer

Give me all the cute baby headbands and simple dresses!

sandra coan photography what to wear to the studio seattle family photographer
sandra coan photography what to wear to the studio seattle family photographer

Both of these dresses are so fun and show so much personality. Plus, outfit changes during studio sessions are totally worth it!

 

I hope you find these outfits to be good inspiration for your next studio session!

These were just a few of our favorites we've seen so far in 2018. Let the cuteness continue!

What to Bring to Your Baby's First Year Photo Session | Seattle Family Photography

About a year ago I wrote a post about what toys and props to bring to your newborn photo session and I featured images from a  shoot where the mom had brought some truly unique and beautiful things to be included in the photos.  (You can see that post as well as my list of suggestions by following this link)

Well, it has been a year since then, and the same family came back for their baby's first year photos with the same toys from their newborn session!

How fun is that?

So once again I'm featuring this adorable family along with some ideas for what to bring to your baby's first year photo session!

Party Hats

A party hat is always a fun prop to bring along to a one year photo shoot.  I can promise that your baby will wear it for long, but I can promise that the shots will do get will be adorable!

what to bring to a photography studio | bringing props and toys to your studio session | baby's first birthday wearing handmade felt cone birthday hat | film photographer sandra coan

Letter Blocks

I'm obsessed with letter blocks.  I love the colors and fun patterns!  These gorgeous blocks by Uncle Goose come in a variety of colors, patters AND languages!!  I mean, how cool are these Japanese blocks that spell out this little guys name?!  LOVE!

what to bring to a photography studio | bringing props and toys to your studio session | first birthday japanese character blocks | film photographer sandra coan
what to bring to a photography studio | bringing props and toys to your studio session | baby's first birthday japanese character blocks | film photographer sandra coan
what to bring to a photography studio | bringing props and toys to your studio session | first birthday japanese character blocks | film photographer sandra coan

Special Family Items and Calendars!

This guys mom has been documenting his first year using a Fujifilm Instax camera, so we thought it would be fun to get some photo of him holding the camera!  She also brought a calendar like the one we used in his newborn session to show off his Birth Day!

what to bring to a photography studio | bringing props and toys to your studio session | baby's first birthday with toy blue polaroid camera | film photographer sandra coan
what to bring to a photography studio | bringing props and toys to your studio session | baby's first birthday wearing red bowtie and holding calendar | film photographer sandra coan

Favorite Toys

We also did a few shots with his favorite toys.  I did this with my own sons when they were this age, and it's so fun to look back at those photos and remember how important those toys were to them and to our family

what to bring to a photography studio | bringing props and toys to your studio session | baby's first birthday snuggling plush owl toy on bed | film photographer sandra coan
what to bring to a photography studio | bringing props and toys to your studio session | happy baby's first birthday chewing on toy sitting on bed | film photographer sandra coan

Book you session!

Do you have a baby in your life who you need photos of!  Send me an email and I'll get you on the books!  After all, they're only little once! 

Newborn Photography Without Props | Seattle Family Photographer

I'll never forget the day my children we born.  All I wanted to do was look at them. I couldn't get enough. 

Their little faces!

Their toes! 

Their tiny fingers. 

I would sit and just watch them sleep. 

I loved the way they stretched and squirmed. 

I loved their little yawns and baby sneezes.

They were so perfect!!  I couldn't get enough.

I think about that every time I work with a newborn.  I look at other people's babies just like I looked at my own; full of wonder and amazement. 

Why I Don't Use Props

Seattle Newborn Photographer Sandra Coan Why I don't pose babies

That is why I choose not to use props or unnatural posing in my work.  I believe babies are perfect, just the way they are.  They don't need anything else.  Just a baby being a baby is enough for me.

I also know that newborns are precious and fragile little humans.  They are meant to be cared for and protected which is why I would never place them in any kind of an unnatural pose.

What You Can Expect From Me

If you are bringing your baby in for a newborn session with me, please know this.  I understand how precious this little person is to you.  Our babies are our world and I know that.  

I will keep your baby safe.

I will keep your baby warm and comfortable.

And I will create classic, timeless images that you can look back on years from now and see your child's personality shining through.

Remember, they're only little once.  Don't miss it.  Book your session today!

Seattle Newborn Photography Sandra Coan newborn photography without props
Seattle Newborn Photography Sandra Coan Infant photography without props and posing