Have you ever wondered how to manage photography sessions with toddlers? Here’s some Tips for a stress free photography sessions with toddlers!
If you’re the parent of a toddler, then you know that every moment is unpredictable! Some days are smooth sailing, and others are meltdown central just because they don’t like the color plate you served their morning pancakes on! I was a preschool teacher before I was a photographer, so trust me, I get it! Here’s some tried and true things you can do to make your photography sessions with your toddler as smooth and stress-free as possible!
This will be a new experience for them, and they will benefit from a few minutes to acclimate to new people and new surroundings, so don’t feel pressured to get right into the picture taking. Let them get roam around and explore, and as they do, they will build confidence. Talk to the photographer, let your toddler hear her voice and get used to her as well. Having a camera in their space is new for them too! So give them some grace in the first few minutes of actual shooting as they get used to it.
Children can be unpredictable at times, so it’s best to stay flexible. I can take great pictures while they’re running around and once they get some energy out, we can work on still shots! I can get some good shots while they’re acclimating, too! Let’s go with the flow.
A few days before your photography session, walk your toddler through what they will be doing – tell them they’re going to go get their picture taken with Mom and Dad (or whoever will be with them). Tell them where they’re going and describe it to them. Show them what they are going to be wearing and let them try it on if they want to. Giving them an idea of what to expect will help when it comes time for the actual photo session. Keep what you can predictable so that they’re set up for success.
Here are some more tips for a stress free photography sessions with toddlers!
As for clothes… Put your toddler in something dressy but comfortable! Of course, you want them to look their best in pictures, but if they’re wearing something that bothers them, then it will be distracting for them! So go for the cute dress or the little suspenders, but make sure that they are comfortable. No itchy tags, scratchy fabrics, or things that they’re tugging and pulling at. (Are you sensing a theme here yet?? Toddlers love predictability and routine, so make them as comfortable with the situation as possible!)
Here are a couple of my favorite places to shop for toddler clothing!
Check out my style guide for the whole family here!
Leave at least 15 minutes early! Give yourself plenty of time to get out the door, to get to the location and to get out of the car. This extra time will give you a buffer in case your toddler is determined to put their shoes on herself and refuses to accept help, if you hit traffic or literally anything else that might cause a meltdown. I also suggest your toddler dressed into their snazzy ‘fits shortly before you leave the house to avoid their clothes getting dirty.
Keep it fun! We want the most genuine smiles and laughs from your little ones during the session. So if that means silly jokes, funny prompts and noises, then that’s what we’ll do!
Bring along a couple of toys or a stuffy that your toddler loves. This will give them a familiar object to hold on to in an unfamiliar situation. Toddlers at play make for great pictures, too! Another good option is a favorite special stuffy or a ball to kick around! Practical and fun! Bring along some bribes too! This is what we turn to if all else fails. A favorite treat like fruit snacks or candy can save the day.
If you don’t want to bring anything along with you, consider playing a little game that your toddler likes! Peek-a-boo or tag are always fun and provide sweet, fun moments to capture. Also consider playing music your toddler likes and have a little dance party! One of my favorite prompts is holding up your toddler in the air, it’s always a hit!
Most importantly, relax and have fun! It might not be a “perfect” experience; your toddler might not cooperate the entire time but that’s okay! You don’t have to have a session full of perfect moments in order to have perfect photos. Just enjoy your time together as a family, enjoy your surroundings and each other, and have fun! I’ll take care of the rest.
It’s your job to have fun as a family, and it’s my job to capture the pictures, and I’m good at my job! I have a vision for the end result, and I will take photos that will capture your sweet moments as a family, even in the middle of the chaos that can be a toddler!
The best part of working with toddlers in photo sessions is definitely the final result. Fun, full of energy and loving moments! Check out my website to learn more about building a custom heirloom album full of these sweet memories.
Talk soon, Janelle
June 15, 2023