Tough Kid? That’s What Makes Them Amazing

Mar 31, 2021

We all have that kid, the tough one. Why is it always the second? Kids are all unique. Some kids are ready for the photoshoot the second they step foot in the studio but fade quickly. Some kids need time to warm up before they let their light shine. That’s why our philosophy is kid lead. We don’t put time on a session because your kid might be done in 10 minutes (and once they are done, they’re done). Or your kid might need 15 minutes to warm up. The key to being an expert with kids is to be ok with going with the flow and letting them set the pace and energy of the session.

Every Kid Is Unique, That’s What Makes Family Portraits Amazing

I hear it all the time:

My kid is going through a phase, we’ll get family pictures when they’re older.

Well, guess what, that stinks. They are just as special and just as loveable, albeit infuriatingly so, now as they are going to be in a year when they outgrow whatever phase they are in. Can I let you in on a little secret, the ‘tough’ kids are literally the most fun during a photoshoot because their personality is going to shine.

We see a few different variation of the ‘tough’ kid:

The Terrible Twos

They are called the terrible twos for a reason. It’s not an easy age for anyone. It’s a huge developmental phase for kids. It’s a time for them to demand (is that the right word) their independence. But that comes with a lot of frustration at not being in control all the time. That results in a short attention span and a quick fuse.

Pro Hint: Go to a photographer who works with kids. You know why? A wedding photographer knows how to work and pose people with their words, “please take one step to the right and look happy.” Do you know what would happen if you ask a 2-year old that? Let’s just be clear, nothing good. But a photographer who specializes in working with children will know how to play games that capture a kid’s attention while moving quickly so that they are done before the toddler loses their attention span.

Petulant Teenager

Yup, for sure. This tough behavior isn’t saved just for toddlers. It totally rears its head when the teenage years come knocking. And ironically for all the same reasons. Teenagers are ready to show their independence. And are prone to tantrums, although usually quieter and typically involve refusing to look up from their phone.

But don’t, please don’t stop taking family portraits because of a sulky teen or because you think they are going through an awkward phase. That is exactly when they need it the most. Their body is changing and it’s super weird. And it’s critical to build their confidence. One amazing way to build that self-confidence in a teen – portraits. And specifically when portraits are hung on the wall. It allows them to see themselves (as they are, not what they think they see in the mirror) every day in a place of pride.

Pro Tip: Step out of the room and give them their time to be independent. When you step out of the room, they work directly with the photographer and literally drop the attitude (we see it melt away within a minute).

Strong Willed

This is mine. She is strong-willed, opinionated, and every so sassy. And it’s what I love most about her. You see Lorelai’s images all the time and you can see her personality. It’s big. It’s loud. And it’s fun.

Pro Tip: Let them let their light shine. She might not be smiling perfectly in every (or any) image but she is always perfectly her.

Super Special

On the spectrum, Asperger syndrome, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, blindness, ADHD, cystic fibrosis, non-verbal on and on….. Again, we’re kid lead so we will do whatever it takes to help put your family at ease and ensure you are comfortable in our studio. Guess what, we believe in custom which means tailoring the experience to you and yours. Some kids like us to turn off all the lights and music so it’s quiet. Some kids like a special song. Some kids need extra support because they aren’t yet sitting. Some kids won’t look at the camera. Some kids give extra hugs. And every one of these is ok, it’s better than ok. It’s what makes them, them. And they should be celebrated for every minute of that. And you, mom, shouldn’t stress about it. This should be one place you celebrate your family in all its amazingness.

Pro Tip: Let us know in advance what helps your kiddo be comfortable, so we can accommodate you perfectly!

Final Thoughts

Every kid is special and our toughest kiddos are the most amazing. Their personality will shine, so don’t shy away from photos because you are afraid that it’s going to be a rough hour! Just work with a photographer who specializes in kids to ensure it’s an enjoyable hour and isn’t stressful! Get the family portraits because it’s amazing to remember them, in all their glory!

About the Author

Lara Aman Mattey

Founder I Owner I Ivory Tree

Lara is the coolest person alive, according to her husband, Nick, & two little ladies, Caitie & Lorelai. But she thinks her time is limited on that statement as they continue to grow older. Lara comes from a large family, with whom she is still very close with & you’ll often see shared through the blog and on social media. She went to Penn State (We Are…) where she met Nick.

Ivory Tree's very own photographer, Marcy shot her newborn photography sessions & Lara was hooked! Lara is not a photographer, super weird, we know. But lives for the experience, creative direction, and meeting all the cool folks who come through the Ivory Tree Portraits studio!

In addition to studio awards, Lara was also recognized at a Women of Influence on the Main Line in 2023.

Follow along as she shares studio antics, personal antidotes, & fun stuff going on in the community.

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