The Secret to Photographing your Toddler



Taking photos of toddlers is such an incredible experience!  It’s so sweet and peaceful; it really creates a sense of bliss…oh wait, I’m thinking of the nap you have to take AFTER photographing your toddler!  Yeah, photographing toddlers, ESPECIALLY your own, can be a tricky experience. They move EVERYWHERE, don’t follow directions and have trouble fitting a photo op into their busy little schedules. So, I’ve teamed up with the amazing photographer Kristin Wilkerson, from to bring you our best tips for photographing your toddler, aka tiny caveman! (thank you Harvey Karp for the PERFECT description!)

As a professional photographer, I think Kristin would agree, photographing your own toddlers can be a miserable experience!  In fact, on Halloween this year I didn’t plan very well for their photoshoot and it took everything in me NOT to lie down on the sidewalk and throw my very own, adult-sized tantrum of my own! Seriously. It was THAT bad!  To make matters worse, I have TWIN toddlers!  Nuff said!

Kristin Wilkerson:

My favorite thing about photographing toddlers is you are almost forced to be creative.  I love the unpredictability of what might happen on the shoot.  You have to work with what you are given and it forces you to work out of your comfort zone and strive to be a better creative. 

So, to avoid your own mommy tantrum and get the best images of your littles, plan ahead and follow these tips.

  1. Plan to shoot in the morning.

    Kids are almost unanimously happier in the morning time!  (Parents are usually happier too…coincidence? I think not.)  Be aware of nap times, and plan accordingly, giving yourself a wide cushion.  The secret to photographing toddlers web17

  2. Bring an assistant.

    1. Cassia: I LOVE my hubs, but he is a terrible assistant with babies!  He gets burned out quicker than the twins do!!  So, if you have a friend or relative who is good with your kids, bring them along!  Use them to keep playfully setting your toddler back in place.  You can even make it a game.  Each time the kiddo gets up to run away, it’s okay to let them run for a second, then catch them and give tickles, or make faces back to position.  Sometimes they last for a few minutes, other times a few seconds; so be patient and refer to tip #5!

  3. Get outside.

    1. The lighting ought to be great in the morning time, and then you can follow them around in their element, which makes for more beautiful, candid shots. html_3bWittaker-10

  4. Bring props

    1. Things I would highly suggest are chairs, step stools or wagons they can climb on or in, which has the nice little effect of keeping those little busy bodies in one place…for a minute anyway.  Do keep mama close by for any potential accidents!

    2. Bring something for them to hold onto.  It helps to keep them still, again momentarily, but worth it.  Keep in mind, the item will end up in some of the photos, so make sure it goes well with the shot.  I’ve used a favorite toy, a strand of pearls, a beloved teddy; whatever either means something, or looks good in the photo.  Also bubbles can fit into this category.  They’re a great distraction and don’t occupy any space in your image. photographing toddlers how to

  5. Shoot fast and shoot a ton!

    1. I shoot nearly triple the pics with toddlers as I do with any other photo shoot!  I set the camera to rapid fire (which even most camera phones have now) and shoot until I KNOW I have at least a few good to photograph toddlers tips and tricks and examplesphotographing toddlers is hard work how to

  6. Bring treats or rewards.

    I can’t tell you how many photo ops I’ve shot where a child who’s not smiling gets threatened within an inch of their life! No kidding!  Somehow little Timmy is going to smile (a REAL smile) knowing he’s going to get spanked if not?? Huh?  Nope.  Epic fail.  Play music, bring fun, non-messy treats for little breaks and for crying out loud (or hopefully the lack there of) keep it positive.

  7. Capture the details.

    You will miss those round little ankles and wrists, and cute pouty lips that they grow out of so quickly, so don’t forget these tiny details.  This is particularly useful during the less happy moments.

  8. Keep Calm, and eat chocolate!

    Even in the best of situations, there is still likely to be a melt down here and there. CAPTURE IT!!!  You’ll laugh…eventually. 🙂 baby-girl-headbands-fashion-polka-dots121



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  • Haha great post, thanks for the tips! I laughed alot when I saw the meltdown photos, I have so many photos of my baby crying right after or before smiling photos, babies are so moody!ReplyCancel


MyMommyStyle Meet Camille

Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and reality optimist. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, and I hope while you're here you'll find something that makes your #momlife easier!


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Embrace the Mom You AreMy Mommy Style

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