Toddlers and family photos

It’s no secret that little humans have big feelings and are not shy about letting those feelings be known. It’s also not a mystery at all why the thought of having a photoshoot with a toddler might make you stress a bit. I’ve worked photographing families with toddlers for a couple of years now and there are a few things that I’ve taken away from that experience that I wanted to talk about that will hopefully put you at ease about your upcoming family photos!

Mentally preparing for family photos

  1. Of course they might not “behave” during the session. I don’t blame them at all either. I’m usually a total stranger to the families I photograph. I have a weird looking thing I’m putting between my face and theirs and all of a sudden they have to do things that they don’t understand like sit on a random blanket in the middle of a random field, and sometimes they’re just not about that. It’s okay and understandable!

  1. They will feed off of your emotions. If you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed or anxious, they will think that there is a reason for them to be feeling the same way and that can manifest itself with tears and meltdowns. So, even though sometimes photos can be an overwhelming process with little ones, I prioritize a relaxing and comfortable environment to help with those big feelings! I think that understanding the why behind a child’s behavior in the moment is super helpful when trying to remain positive yourself!

So, with that understanding, the question is how do we have a positive photoshoot experience? Here are the tips I have to offer:

Set yourself and your toddler up for success

  • Make sure that their outfits are nice and comfy.
  • Have them fed ahead of time but also bring extra snacks and water (especially in the Summer).
  • If they’re old enough to understand, talk to them about the photo shoot ahead of time. Explain to them what’s going to happen and maybe even have a couple of “practice photo shoots” at home with your phone.
  • If they have a favorite song or music they like to listen to, I always play music during my sessions so if you let me know I can make sure I have it downloaded ahead of time. (If it’s baby shark on repeat for an hour, it wouldn’t be the first time).
  • Stay relaxed and positive! If they want to be silly and run around and be wild, GREAT! If they are feeling shy and just want to be held and snuggled, GREAT! They lead the flow of the session, so there really is not a “right” or “wrong” for them.
  • BUBBLES! For certain ages, bringing out the bubble whale is always a hit.

I hope that this helps take some of the pressure off of feeling like you have to have your little ones behave perfectly in order to have a good photo experience. In the end, these sessions are all about capturing them as they are in this season of life. Sometimes that’s shy, sometimes it’s goofy, sometimes it’s anything in between. In two, five or even ten years, they will be precious memories to you no matter what.

I you have any questions about getting your family photos scheduled for this year, let me know here!



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