Have you every tried taking photos of your toddler only for it to result in tantrums (from them and you!)?

Mama, I’ve been there, and it’s not fun. It’s really hard to be your creative best when you’re trying to wrangle a screaming child.

Photographing toddlers requires different considerations than you need for older or younger children, so go in with a game plan and get ready for a tantrum-free photoshoot.

Toddler Photoshoot Bluebells

1. Work with Your Toddler

You know your toddler best, so use that knowledge to plan your session. If you know your toddler hates hats, don’t try to force them to wear one, it’ll only end in tears. Think about what your toddler loves and hates, and use this to plan a session that will be beautiful and fun for your toddler. If your toddler is having fun, you’ll get real smiles.

2. Plan an Activity

Now is not the time for sitting down shoots. Your toddler will get bored and wander off, and you will get frustrated. Cue tantrums!

Plan something for your child to do during the session to keep them occupied. Here are a few tips to entertain them during the session:

  • Give them something to look at and play with if you want them to sit down – If you don’t want toys in your photo it could be something simple. Get them to blow a dandelion clock, or place a few pinecones on the floor and have them count them or make a pile out of them.
  • Bubbles – I’ve never met a toddler who doesn’t love bubbles. Bubbles are great for getting natural smiles and keeping toddlers in one place. If you’re on your own during the shoot, try using a bubble machine as it can be hard to blow bubbles and take photos at the same time.

Toddler Photoshoot Bubbles

  • Baby Shark (Do do do do) – I recently had an 18 month old who wouldn’t stay in one place. It was really tricky to get a photo of him because every time I got in front of him he changed direction. I put Baby Shark on my phone and it worked like magic. He stopped to do the actions and sing the song, and I got loads of photos. Head, shoulders, knees and toes also works great.
  • Search for fairies – You’ll be amazed how enticing a simple jam jar becomes when you tell your toddler there are fairies to catch. You can even add fairies into the jam jar after the session in Photoshop.

3. Get Your Toddler Involved

If your child is old enough, get them involved. Tell them about the Photoshoot ahead of time and make it sound exciting. Get their input on what to wear (get them to choose between two or three outfits or they may end up in wellies and a Batman costume!) During the session, get them to help by asking them to ‘check’ your lens for colours. Give them your lens pen and let them clean your lens.

4. Cheese is for Crackers

Does your child have a cheesy camera smile? Mine does. It looks more like a grimace and is nothing like her real smile. That fake smile is what you’ll get when you ask your child to smile for the camera. Our kids are so conditioned to smile for the camera that sometimes even pointing a camera in their direction can trigger it.

Instead, talk to your child. Get them to tell you about their best friend, their favourite tv show, something they are excited about. They will naturally smile when they are happy and excited and you can avoid the camera smile.

5. Schedule the Session around your child

I love sunset sessions, but the late times can be hard on toddlers. If your little one is tired and cranky, the session is going to be an uphill battle, and it’s very likely to end in tears. If you really want a later session, make sure your toddler naps during the afternoon so they will be well rested for the session. If late sessions don’t work for your child, don’t push it. Go with a morning session instead, the light is still pretty, especially early on (and we know how toddlers like to get up early!). For sunset sessions, do them in the winter when the sun sets early enough for little one’s.

Do you have a toddler? Show us your best toddler photos on Instagram using hashtag #mamacameraclub