Tired of portraits of your child that just don’t look quite how you want them to? In this tutorial we’ll share our best toddler photography tips for getting your child to engage with the camera for striking portraits every time.
Toddler photography tips: 01 Peekaboo
It’s not always easy to attract and maintain the attention of toddlers and older babies. Noisy toys in the hands of mum and dad are always a good go-to. Simply have them stand in whichever direction you want the baby to look.
Toddler photography tips: 02 Head outdoors
While it’s not so practical for newborns, try shooting toddlers outside for some great seasonal portraits. Ideally, the baby should be able to sit up without support. This allows for all different types of poses and contexts.
Toddler photography tips: 03 Co-ordinate with the seasons
Dress the baby in natural colours when shooting outdoors. Neutral colors such as brown, green and white look wonderful against natural settings such as woodlands, grass, beaches, etc.
Toddler photography tips: 04 Beach baby
The beach can be a great setting for photographing toddlers. There are so many things to excite the baby and produce cute expressions. You’ll want to adjust your camera settings for bright light. This means low ISOs, somewhat narrow apertures, and fast shutter speeds. In-built ND filters can be especially useful in these settings.
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Toddler photography tips: 05 Make it into a game
If you’re brave enough to try and photograph two children simultaneously and one of them is older, try and make it a game for them. Let the older one play photographer by having them encourage the younger one to be expressive. This is usually just a matter of the two interacting.
Toddler photography tips: 06 Show them your shots
Let the toddlers see their photo after you’ve taken it to pique their curiosity. They’ll usually want to pose for more to see how they turn out. Don’t be afraid to let them touch your camera. While you may be hesitant to do this at first, know that doing so will probably make the toddler feel more at ease with the camera and consequently produce more natural shots.
Toddler photography tips: 07 Look for characters
When photographing a group of infants, try to single out one of the more confident ones and photograph them first. If they do well, this will typically show the others that there’s nothing to be afraid of.
Toddler photography tips: 08 Give them a task
Try assigning toddlers a task to complete while you photograph them. You’d be surprised natural the shots turn out when they have something to focus on, such as a jigsaw puzzle or a coloring book. Supervised cooking sessions can also make for some wonderfully candid shots.
Toddler photography tips: 09 Pack your wellies
Who doesn’t love a nice jump in a puddle? We all do, including toddlers, so they’ll be happy to oblige this one. You can freeze water droplets in the air with high shutter speeds, and framing just the feet can make for some interesting shots too. Have the toddler wear brightly coloured wellies or hold a colorful umbrella to make your shots pop.
SEE MORE: Best camera settings for window-light portraits
Toddler photography tips: 10 Find them somewhere to sit
Rather than chasing a toddler around to get your shot, provide them with somewhere to sit to help keep them occupied and settled. It doesn’t really matter where they sit – a bench, a step, a rug on the floor – as long as they aren’t up and poised for takeoff. Of course, you should still have your camera ready to go because you never know when they could get up and run away!
Toddler photography tips: 11 Follow the leader
Children love games. Turn posing for the camera into a game of follow the leader by having the toddler mimic what you do. Keep things fun by starting off with some silly poses and then mixing in some more natural ones. Tell them that part of the game is to see how long you can hold a pose or facial expression (while you snap your shot).
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