Let’s play ‘Fashion Show!’

{Capturing Childhood} Tips & tricks for everyday parents *Great collection of ideas

“Smile! Say Cheese! Pretty Please look at Mommy’s camera?!?”

If you spend any time capturing your children you will eventually hit that wall where the kids absolutely refuse to cooperate with your photo sessions. The camera suddenly becomes their most dreaded object and they want to look anywhere but there.

I have a secret trick I keep for a rainy day. . . Turn the photo session into a game!

My littlest one loves playing dress-up. The family jokes about her budding fashionista tendencies. The key to getting some killer smiles was to give her solid one-on-one attention, a few tutus, and the instructions that she should pose to show off her new outfits. What a hit–for both her and for mommy!

So today I’m sharing my wily ways for using your child’s imagination to work in your favor as part of the Capturing Childhood series. Do you think this would work with your child? I’d love to know!

P.S. Want to see a pull back of the area I shot this entire session? Come check out my messy reality over on Peanut Blossom!

Capturing portraits via a “Fashion Show!”:


1. Set the stage: Do your homework before you invite your child to play. Find a spot in your house that has pretty light, a simple background, and then clear away all the clutter you can. Every single photo from this post was shot 2 feet from my front door in our main entryway. I opened the door to let in as much natural light as I could, shoved shoes and backpacks into a closet, and got down low on the ground and shot close up so you can’t see the photos hanging on the wall in most of the shots. You can get a full, unedited glimpse here.

Once your spot is ready, bring a nice selection of props to that area to prevent your child from the distraction of fetching something else in a different room. We switched outfits several times so that she always had something new to be inspired by for her poses.

fashion-112. Warm them up: The biggest key to success is keeping this playful and lighthearted. Do not direct your child to pose any certain way. Instead, ask questions to ignite their imagination:

  • Who are you today: a princess or a fairy?
  • What’s your magic power?
  • Do you know how to fly?

And then follow up their responses with: “Show me!”

3. Click click click!: While your child is warming up, they are likely to be most squirrely and active. Just keep clicking and think collages! I love this action series of my daughter twirling in her outfit. I wasn’t terribly fond of the middle shot all by itself but when included as part of the series it shows her personality and playfulness! Sometimes a weaker link is made stronger by the chain.


4. Remember details: Don’t forget to capture a few close-up shots of the details of their outfit. It’s not about the costume, this trick allows you to include images of tiny fingers, wisps of hair, soft little ears, and chubby toes. I asked my daughter to tell me about her princess skirt and show me her favorite parts. She immediately started playing with the tulle flower here:


5. Quiet moments: By the end of the session, your child’s energy might be waning. This is the perfect opportunity to capture a quiet pose. I asked my daughter to sit on the floor and wait for a moment while I grabbed something. She looked out the front door and I captured this shot by standing up and shooting down so that the floor fills the background.

If your child is calm enough, this is also a perfect pose to then gently try to capture their attention or try asking if they’ll look up at you. Be ready to snap immediately, you might capture a sweet smile and nice open eyes.


We loved the mix and match options from the Melissa & Doug tutus and tiaras collection:


tiffanydahleprofileTiffany Dahle is the hostess behind Peanut Blossom where she shares her belief that strong families start with strong and happy mothers. She encourages you to develop everyday possibilities for stretching your creativity while doing what you do to keep that household running!

You can find Tiffany on FacebookTwitter, Google+ and Pinterest.


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  1. […] I’m over at Melissa & Doug sharing my tips for Capturing Childhood. I’ve been so excited about this series because it has given me the opportunity to take a few […]

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    Let’s play ‘Fashion Show!’ – Melissa & Doug Blog