capture them where they are today

  • capture them where they are today by Heidi Hicks

capture them where they are today

I started my photography journey when my niece and nephew were babies. I vowed to learn how to use a camera so that when I had children of my own, they wouldn’t go months (or years in some cases) without nice pictures like my own niece and nephew.

boy flying toy plane pic by Heidi Hicks

Fast-forward seven years; my own son is two and a half (and super awesome). And while I have thousands of client images on my computer, there’s only a small folder of pictures of him. Guilt of being behind on work and not wanting to work on something personal ahead of clients was the main culprit. Not wanting to ‘work’ when I didn’t need to be was another. It wasn’t until I was finishing up a session in my home studio and Beckett asked, ‘take my picture too, mommy?” that I remembered the reason I wanted to do photography in the first place.

At two, he’s not super into sitting for pictures so we grabbed one of his favorite things (his new airplane) and headed out the front door and across the street for a nine-minute session. This little grassy area sits right in between housing developments, not making it an ideal location for a session – but using what we had, where we were, I captured these quick pictures of my sweet boy who will never be this little again.

boy holding toy airplane photo by Heidi Hicks

picture of smiling boy by Heidi Hicks

Here are some tips to take pictures of your own little ones where they are right now:

  1. Don’t force it. When Beckett was little, we did the weekly/monthly shots in the chair with his current age on the wall behind him (you know the ones). He wasn’t always in the mood for a photo shoot and I didn’t want him to hate being in the studio so I never forced it. Some of those (crabby boy, outtake) shots have ended up being some of my faves. As he’s gotten older, I’ve waited for him to be in the mood for pictures. It’s often a long (not so patient) wait on this end but it’s worth it to get genuine smiles once he’s ready.
  2. Plan ahead of time. Have a plan of attack and everything (clothes/props/etc.) ready to go so that when they are in a great mood you can execute the ‘session’ in record time. Suckers and/or jellybeans as a special treat at the end were in my bag. (As a former child development teacher, I’m not saying you should bribe your little one for pictures but in an effort to keep things real, I’m not saying I didn’t…)
  3. Make it fun. Choose a location they love or a new one they’ll love to explore. Incorporate a favorite toy or activity if you can. Take time between shots to chase, tickle and laugh together.
  4. Bring an assistant if you can. Daddy held the reflector, told jokes and helped with jellybean distribution. He was priceless.
  5. Print and display the pictures for your little one to enjoy. Beckett LOVES seeing pictures of himself hanging in our home. Once in awhile when he’s looking at them is when he asks me to take his picture again.
  6. Limit your time behind the camera. Don’t spend their entire childhood behind the lens. Take the time to set the camera down and really soak up the stage they are in right now.

airplane inspired child photo session by Heidi Hicks

The cliché is true about them growing up fast. Play with them, take it all in, and take the time to capture them where they are today.

soar sign held by child by Heidi Hicks

conceptual photo session by Heidi Hicks

About the Author:

Child development teacher by trade, working from home mom by grace, Heidi has been capturing pictures of other people's families for seven years (not counting the short stint in fifth grade when she set up a DIY 'glamour shots studio' in the living room of her childhood home). She and her husband, Rusty, have a two-and-a-half year old, Beckett, who loves going on park adventures with his mom (they're trying to get to 100 this year) and once in awhile lets her take his picture. Visit Heidi Hicks online.


  1. Melissa Jul 25 2014 at 1:45 pm - Reply

    What wonderful photos of an adorable boy! And such a good reminder. Last year I gathered up a bunch of pirate things and was planning a session for my 4 year old. One evening he was in a great mood, being very cooperative and pleasant, so I just put him in a plaid shirt and a bandanna, grabbed the treasure chest of goodies, and set him up in the backyard. We had so much fun and it was one of my favorite sets ever! He has asked a few times to take more pirate pics. 😉

  2. Thelma Jul 25 2014 at 2:29 pm - Reply

    What a beautiful and inspirational session! Thanks for the tips and advice. (:

  3. Lindsay Jul 25 2014 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    Really adorable! My two have gotten to where they like to take each other’s photo, I’ve gotten pushed out and have become their assistant!

  4. Desiree Jul 25 2014 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    Such great photos, and good advice too. When my kids are in the mood, I definitely take advantage of the photo ops. Thanks for the tips!

  5. Bonnie Craig Jul 25 2014 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    what an adorable themed shoot with the airplane and aviator hat. love it!

  6. Shari S Jul 25 2014 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    So many lovely images! Thanks for the tips!

  7. Karen Shoufler Jul 25 2014 at 8:47 pm - Reply

    Great reminder! And OMG those pics with the aviator hat!!! LOVE 🙂

  8. Shanna Aitken Jul 26 2014 at 12:12 am - Reply

    Love this!

  9. Felicia Murray Jul 26 2014 at 12:14 am - Reply

    These are just wonderful!

  10. Melanie Johnson Jul 26 2014 at 6:14 pm - Reply

    These are so wonderful!! I love the theme! Really cute!

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