Quick Guide to Toddler Photography

Quick Guide to Toddler Photography

When we talk about children photography we all know that it’s very hard to get good pictures of these little people. Reasons for that are numerous, starting from the one that they don’t want to sit still. And if we succeed in that, still it’s hard to get them to look into the camera. Furthermore, it’s almost impossible to get a good smile from a toddler just by asking for one. A toddler is a child who is just learning to walk, which is around 1 year of age, i.e. a child 12 to 36 months old. As the main word from which this term “toddler” is derived “to toddle” means to walk unsteadily. Therefore, toddler photography is a great challenge for us, but it’s a great inspiration as well. So, let’s talk about what we need to take great toddler photos and let’s share some useful tips.

3 Tips for a successful child photography session

There’s a big difference between a casual snapshot and a carefully composed and executed image made by a professional children photographer. Beautiful photos become family treasures for generations. It’s very important to explain to the parents from the start what some tips that may be useful for one successful baby and children photography session are:

Tip 1: Adjust the atmosphere

The environment and the atmosphere for toddler photography session should be prepared according to the toddler’s age and their needs, if photographed outdoors. In studio sessions are harder since they like to explore, so try to keep them shorter. Let them play and explore their surroundings. Provide them with their favorite toys, blankets or other familiar items to keep them busy and try to capture the toddler when engaged in an activity. There will be plenty of expressions of surprise or gorgeous smiles. You should work fast to capture these moments.

Tip 2: Choose big light source (sun, big window or big umbrella)

The bigger the light source the better. If you are outside use sunlight to give soft focus look to your toddler’s skin, but be careful and avoid the harsh sun because their sensitive skin can be easily affected.

If you are in studio seat the toddlers in an area that has lots of natural light, like a big window. When there is plenty of natural daylight it’s the best time for shots. Your photos will have natural look and beautiful colors.

A lot of photographers love that golden hour, but early morning is your best friend for toddlers that are still napping. Schedule photo session at least one hour after nap time and make sure they have all their meals. You can use one big umbrella to create light reflection and focus on what’s important turning your home into scenes from other super creative professional photos you have seen in magazines.

Tip 3: Pay Attention to the Background

Background should be very simple so the focus stays on your little model. Parks with lots of plants are always a good choice, especially when they are on the move. Try to find the right angle without any disrupting elements.

Remember, your toddlers are individuals. Your photos should reflect who they are. Focus on what’s important and set your child in the center of your shots making them to be unique. To achieve that you can also make background to have blur effect and your photos may look more professional.

Posing advice

Children photographers, when working with toddlers, are the one that must “convince” the child to stand in the right position. Here are some guides that might help you in how to get them to sit still and look.

1. Give the toddler somewhere to sit

This advice is especially important for younger toddlers who have recently learned to walk. It’s really hard to get your photos in focus if you’re chasing a toddler around the room. It’s much simpler if you provide somewhere for the child to sit – I like to use small crate so they can sit and hold on it. Have your camera out and ready before you sit the toddler down because he may only stay there a moment or two.

2. Give the toddler something to hold

Be prepared with a small toy or a flower if you’re outside. Hand the item to the toddler and give him a few minutes to look at and play with it. Then just wait, camera at the ready, until she looks up at you to share her delight – then capture the expression.

3. Ask them to play copycat

You need to elicit a reaction from your toddlers. It will be much easier if you can start seeing the world through their eyes. Try a few funny poses or funny faces first to get him involved and tell him what a great copycat he is when he copies your pose. Then move on to other poses and ask him if he can be a copycat and then freeze in that position while you take his picture. As long as you keep telling them what a great job they are doing, they’ll likely continue to copy you for at least a couple of poses.

4. Be patient and get involved in play

Play with your toddler and make it fun. You can always play hide and seek or make strange noises and challenge them to make interesting expressions. Silly faces, grimaces, natural smiles that really show their personality will be captured. It’s your mission to catch these moments. You just never know when the great shot will come along. So, get down on your toddler’s level and be patient.


Find the Inspiration. Especially when we talk about baby and children photos, the fact that we will treasure the most is that digital photography is unlimited. Take as many shots as you like. Children are fast-moving and it often takes a lot of frames to get a great one. You’ll be happy to have choices when the time comes to edit your photos and cherish them for a lifetime. Smiles, sweet faces, their adorable expressions is all that should be captured. So, get inspired as great children photographers do and free your imagination as much as you can.

For more inspirational pictures like this, you can check out my Instagram profile.

Remember, it’s hard to get gorgeous toddler pictures, and you can’t expect the perfect toddler photo every time you try. However, I hope my advice will help you to improve your child photography skills, or to choose a good professional children photographer to do the shooting.

For more inspiration check out my gallery and feel free to contact me.

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