Toddler Tips for your Photo Session

toddler trick
These sweet cheeks gave me a run for my money. He also inspired me to share some toddler tips as a photographer. He wasn’t in a BAD mood, but he certainly didn’t come to party.
Would you like to know my tricks for getting those real smiles and capturing a toddler’s true colors?
Toddler Tips
I’ve learned that a toddler’s easy cheeses are pretty short-lived. Regardless of where we are, they are super curious about their surroundings. After the novelty of Aunt Tammy wears off, I’m going to have to work to get their attention let alone any grins. 

Read on for my best toddler tips!

tips for toddler pictures

Here are some of the things I come prepared to do for a one year old portrait session:

1) Give them a few minutes to warm up to me. Take a moment to say hello without the big, black camera glued to your face before attempting to take pictures. From about age 1-3, there’s nothing worse than scaring your little subject. You don’t want him to hide his head in Mommy’s shoulder. Try not to overdo the sillies right from the start and take some time to gauge his comfort level.
With a mini session like this one, I can’t plan on too much warm up time. It’s really important that I don’t spook my new friend.

Use the parents as props!

2) Use the parent(s) as props. Usually parents have no plans to be in their one year old’s pictures, but I always recommend that you come prepared for that. Often, the best pictures I get are with the toddlers being held. I can get some pretty sweet pictures by carefully positioning you just out of the frame, but I also love to freeze time while you are getting your snuggles.
3) Bring a snack or treat. A simple and non-messy treat can provide just the distraction we need to get his attention.
Cheerios are a great for this. Avoid chocolate or anything that will discolor the mouth or drip onto clothes.
We also won’t want a lollipop stick hanging out of his mouth nor anything that will take a while to finish. Don’t give your toddler a snack in a container he likes or we might not be able to take it back. Pick a container that is as invisible as possible in case we run into that challenge.
tricks for toddlers

Don’t overwhelm your toddler!

4) One person at a time. I love when I’m able to snap a picture with those beautiful eyes looking directly at my camera. For that reason, at least for part of your session, I’ll ask that you let me try for the smiles without any other noises. It’s really tempting for everyone to start jumping around while calling your little one’s name, but that can be very overwhelming.  If you are going to help, just have one person at a time working for those smiles and try to get down low and as close to me as possible (unless you are holding him, I’m probably going to spend 95% of the session crouched down on the ground).
5) Sing his favorite songs and play his favorite games. A lot of times, just hearing me sing that favorite nursery rhyme causes some intrigue. Fortunately, at this age, they haven’t learned how to give fake smiles, but we are still going to have the most luck getting those big grins if we’re focused on the things he loves instead of determined to get that perfectly posed picture.


Top toddler tips: Be patient and stay relaxed.

6) Lastly, patience is key. Babies pick up on our moods and if we start getting frustrated, so will he. I try my best not to schedule anything immediately after a mini session so that we can give baby a rest and try again if needed. I’m much more interested in getting great pictures for you than watching the time.
one year later
I had the privilege of taking Gage’s maternity, newborn, 6 month, and one year old pictures. I love watching your baby grow!

Send me a hello and let’s find a time to capture those glorious giggles!
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