5 Tips for Photographing Toddlers

Christmas photo of the first day of school

FireMom over at StopDropandBlog posted about photographing toddlers. Her post brought back a flood of memories of some great and not-so-great experiences photographing our children.

I made a decision early on with my oldest to have regular photographs taken. Since we had a so-so camera, we joined a photoplan at Sears. Several times I used the Picture People for special family portraits. Sears was a good fit for us — in terms of money, we could get many photos for a relatively small amount of money. As the oldest grandchild, my daughter’s photographs were much in demand!

Now in terms of quality Sears had issues…lots of issues. Often it seemed as though the photographer was new to the job. I recall one time telling her how to set the camera. Seriously I’m not technical and I managed to help her. Another time we came away with double the pictures due to operator error. Now Sears was always consistent with the printing of the photographs — in 10 years I never had to ask for a second set of prints to be developed.

1. Bring a Toy

Bring a stuffed toy to your photo session to get the best shot of your toddler. My toddlers loved seeing the photographer madly waving a stuffed animal or squeaky toy and would smile or giggle almost on cue. I always packed a stuffed toy in my diaper bag.

2. Use Props

At home I had minimal success posing a toddler on something — a riding toy or on someone’s lap or in the sand box. Posing a toddler with a prop in the studio was more successful. Find a photo studio with props. I have a photo of my son sitting on a toy train grinning from ear to ear. In another photo he is styling in a red sports car. That photo was a hoot as my 2-year-old is wearing a shirt and tie! He looked like a business man out for a drive in his sporty sports car with the top down!

3. Bring a Change of Clothing

Don’t dress your toddler in her finery until AFTER you arrive at the portrait studio. Before you enter the studio do a quick diaper change and change your toddler in to her outfit.

4. Feed Your Child Before the Photo Session

Feed your toddler before the portrait session, but also bring drinks and snacks for your toddler in case you have to wait at the portrait studio.

5. Schedule Your Toddler’s Photo Session After Nap

Schedule your toddler’s photo session AFTER a nap. I always schedule photo sessions for early morning or late afternoon. A cranky overtired baby makes for a stressful photo session and a very frazzled mom.

Wrangling toddlers for a photo session is not for the faint of heart. It’s a struggle, but so worth it. When you look back on those photos, you will love that the photos captured the essence of your always-on-the-go toddler.

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