Planning the Perfect One Year Session


Let’s talk about one year child sessions. Its super cute one year old verses excited parents and Pinterest. Seriously, what could go wrong? From ten totally different outfits to a parent bringing an entire carload of props, things can get out of control in a hurry if you, as the photographer, don’t hop into the driver’s seat from the second you book that session. Here are three critical topics to chat with mom and dad about to ensure that you can both plan the perfect session for their little angel together.



There should be a general flow to the session. This can either be in a location type theme (country, urban, park, etc), color theme (blue, green, pink, etc) or style theme (twinkle little star, cowgirl or boy, etc). This helps you when picking the location and setups for the session and mom and dad for picking outfits.



It may seem odd that this needs to be covered, but you need to set a limitation on how many outfits that mom and dad can bring. One year olds can roll with the punches, but changing their outfit four times during a one hour session can bring just about anyone to their knees. Remind mom and dad that this allows their little angel to settle in and get comfy with you and allows you to capture those genuine moments and smiles. You also want to make sure the outfits they are picking go with the theme of your session, which is why it is crucial that the very first thing you talk about is the theme of the session.



There is nothing more terrifying than see a car roll up to your session packed to the roof full of props that you didn’t know mom and dad were bringing. Just as we talked about setting a limit for outfits, you need to do this for setups and props as well. Most of the time more is not better and letting the child really settle into a setup for the session and enjoy the moment is crucial. Are you seeing a trend here? If you want complete control over the session you can go as far as only letting parent’s use the props that you personally have. Send them over to your website and have them check out your portfolio and tell you what they want used in the session.


As you can see the pre session communication with mom and dad is vital. I like to combine all this information in my welcome email and questionnaire. This way mom and dad don’t feel I am being a complete photographer dictator and allow them to come to their own conclusions and ideas while they fill out my questionnaire. However, I make sure my questions are worded and in an order that help them come to my above criteria on their own. Above all else, don’t be afraid to give mom and dad feedback. If something just doesn’t fit together, let them know. Remember they are hiring you because they love your work. Keep those lines of communication open so you can deliver that amazing quality they fell in love with!

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Meagan Opel

Meagan is a wife, mother of three, animal hoarder, and passionate photographer. She hates wearing shoes, loves Murder She Wrote, and is starting an adventure in dutch oven cooking.

She started down the road of photography with a gentle push from her husband and hasn’t looked back. She loves being able to capture those “real life” moments that can slip by in the blink of an eye. Like most photographers with kids, Meagan became fascinated (obsessed) with photographing her children from second she laid eyes on them, and loves helping others hone their photography skills to better capture their own children.

Meagan is our instructor for Get Grounded in Photoshop, and is also our official Operations Queen. She keeps everyone organized, scheduled, and on track with blogging, Happy Hour, Extra Credit, communication, customer service, and anything else that keeps TPE operating on a day to day basis just for you!

When she isn’t working for TPE, running her own business, or running after her own three small kiddos she enjoys being outdoors, cooking, spending time with her animals, and swimming.

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