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There is planning a family photoshoot and then there is planning a photoshoot with toddlers; boy does the ability to wipe ones own butt really change things. Taking photos with infant Luke was a breeze but toddler photography is a league of it’s own. Now that he is mobile and opinionated, we really have our work cut out for us when it comes to a family photoshoot. However, with patience and a few tricks, it is possible to get a shot of your toddler with a winning smile. If you are planning a family photoshoot, here are some tips for photographing toddlers.
Make sure the entire family gets a good nights rest before a family photoshoot; mom this means you too. We are a lot more patient when we are well rested. Also, be sure to schedule your shoot with nap time in mind.
We know that Luke goes down at 11am like clockwork so we either shoot early morning or later afternoon. If your little one has a consistent nap schedule try to respect it.
I’ve said this time and time again but nothing beats natural light, especially for family photography. This also gives your little one a chance to run around, and the nice background that comes with it is usually free. The park, beach, local farm, botanical garden or cute town square would make great locations.
Imaging planning your family photoshoot months in advance, having the perfect weather, the perfect outfits, the best photographer in the city –and your kid having the worst meltdown of their life. A meltdown that could’ve been swayed by their favorite snack, toy, stickers or even money for their piggy bank. You know your kids best. Whatever their favorite “thing” is, bring it!
When it comes to snacks/treats try to be mindful of color so that it doesn’t ruin their outfit. Popcorn and veggie straws has been a pretty safe bet for us and speaking of food…
You’re not yourself when you’re hungry and neither are your kids. Full bellies make ever thing easier, so make sure they’ve had breakfast or lunch, depending on the time of your shoot. If you’re brave enough to shoot after dinner, then you should probably be sharing your kids photography tips with me. LOL
You know that jump they’ve shown you over and over again? Yes the one where they only get half an inch off the ground. Ask them to do that ….or a twirl that they learned in ballet or anything that they’re recently proud of. It’ll make their little face and eyes light up like the sun. That’s the face that you want in your photos.
Tiny humans love things that they can consider fun sized. Think chairs, umbrellas, small balls and toy cars or even dolls. Try to plan the colors around your outfits but it if helps them sit happily for a few shots then it’s worth it.
Feed their curiosity and maybe spark a new hobby by letting them see how the camera works. This is for older toddlers/preschoolers because Luke (16 months) cannot be trusted our camera. Zoe (4) on the other had, loves directing our poses to take a few shots of her own. I’m sure you little one might love this too.
Whether you’re self shooting or using a photographer, continuous shooting (think burst mode on your phone) is your friend when it comes to toddler photography. The idea of having a one year old pose is laughable. Adding a faster shutter speed allows you (or your photographer) to capture them laughing, mid run, without the photo blurring.
**Hint: This is why the trips to the mall portrait studios turn bad. They expect small children to sit an post for 5-10 frames instead of catching them in action.
Many things can go wrong with kids wearing white or you wearing with around your kids, so avoid the anxiety that comes with it if you can.
Toddler Photography 101: Kids have pretty short attention spans, especially for things that adults want them to do. Try to keep the family photoshoot to 30 minutes or less. Trust me, 30 minutes can feel like a life time when you’re randomly smiling, re-tucking shirts, smoothing hair, pulling hands and random object out of their mouths, etc. Go for a hour and your toddler may not be the only one crying in the photo.
Let them be little. If they want to dance, sing, jump or run let them. For us Zoe will always pose and smile. Little James cooperates depending on the day and Luke is just all over the place. Forcing them to stand, sit or pose in a certain manner might result in frowns and fussiness. Let them do their thing and just snap away. I personally think that the candid shots are cuter and we always do a few silly faces at the end.
What do you think of the tips? Were there any suggestions that you hadn’t considered before? Now that you’re a toddler photography expert, I’m excited to see all of your adorable family shots. Make sure you tag me on Insta when you post.
PS. If your at a loss for outfit planning here are the trending colors for Spring 2020. Visually I don’t know the difference between mustard and saffron but it looks like we’re wearing saffron, so I guess we’re on the right track. If you would like a more detailed post on outfit planning, let me know in the comments.
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