Five tips for parents and photographers to make the most out of family photo shoots with toddlers and kids.
Photographing toddlers is one of the most fun types of photography in my opinion. These little ones are sometimes fairly new to walking and love exploring their surroundings. Whether you’re photographing them at the park, a field, or even the Gardens they’re definitely always up to something funny. My main goal when photographing toddlers is to capture them in a candid way. That’s the best way to get their personality on camera. There is no sense in trying to try to tell a little explorer to sit and say cheese. Let them play and start the session. Now lets get into my 5 best tips for photographing toddlers.
Time and Location Matters:
Toddlers are the most energetic in the morning hours after they wake up. Just in case, I would ask what times the toddler is the most awake. We don’t want cranky little ones at the shoot. It makes it harder to photograph them if they’re tired so we need to make sure they’ve got all the energy possible. One exception to this is if they happen to still take naps, then an evening before sunset is a great way to capture the golden hour. Since we chose to do this photo session at the Fredrick Meijer Gardens we scheduled it to take place right as the doors opened so we could beat the crowds. The Gardens get pretty busy as the day goes on making it more difficult to shoot. Aside from Sawyer being wide awake there were hardly any people there.
Let Kids Be Kids:
If you’re reading this post it’s probably because you have a toddler, you photograph toddlers, or you’re just really bored (Hi, mom!). When choosing a location for a family photo session keep in mind what type of setting will be more comfortable for toddlers and kids. It’s important to choose a location where kids are comfortable and can completely be themselves. When the toddler is comfortable they’re going smile more, laugh more, and do funny things like lift their shirt over their face.
Avoid Giving Kids Treats:
Treats are great. Shoot, sometimes I want some skittles when the parents are using them to bribe the kids. Here is the bad news, it isn’t a good idea to give your kids treats during the shoot because it can lead to stained shirts, messy faces, and endless request for more treats. I suggest holding off on treats till the end. If you’re allowing them to do their thing you wont have trouble with them asking for treats. If you still feel a bribe is necessary for your child to comply then I suggest you wait until the end of the session for a their reward. Don’t forget to bring me a pack of skittles too.
Always Keep Shooting:
This one goes out to the photographers. No matter what, always keep shooting. These little humans have no time to chill. If you get too caught up reviewing photos you’re probably going to miss out on something awesome.
Limit Outfit Changes:
Since most toddler photography shoots are considered mini sessions there isn’t a whole lot of time for outfit changes. Instead, bring a couple of light layers that you can add to their existing outfit. The kids are there to have fun, run around, and be funny. Multiple outfit changes will take away from their play time and ain’t nobody got time for that. Unless you’re confident that a full outfit change is going to be ok with your child I suggest keeping it simple.
In the end, the best way to maximize a family photography session with toddlers is to keep it simple. Befriend the little guys, choose a comfortable environment, and whatever you do just keep shooting. By the end of the session you will have immersed yourself into their world. Be about it and have fun.
What has worked best for you when photographing toddlers? If you have any funny stories from you last toddler photography session spill the beans! I want to hear it!