Between being a mom and a family portrait photographer, I happen to know a trick or two when it comes to freezing a wily little kid in your frame. There are also times when I don’t feel like bringing my camera along with us, but I wanted to share something that applies to any camera, even cell phones. So here are three tips that will help you instantly get better toddler photos:
- Don’t expect a perfect smile
Just don’t. Set your expectations incredibly low on this one.
The more you ask a toddler to look at the camera and smile, the less they will care about what is going on- it’s just what they do. The best way to get a smile out of a toddler is to lay out a few toys for them to play with and let them be in their element. Sure, you can have someone behind you pull out a cookie as a bribing gift, but you only have .000002 seconds to get that smile before it turns into a fit. Try having them sing their favorite song or say their newest favorite word. Whatever you do- just don’t force it… you will be tempting fate with a meltdown.
If it is important that you get a photo with a smile…
- Find someone to assist you
Most of my photos of smiling toddlers include someone behind me making silly noises/faces, acting like a total goofball. This is especially true if you are shooting in a studio. Toddlers love to explore, and their attention span is already spent by the time they walk into the studio.
Bubbles are a great smile-bringer, and while you can blow a few yourself and snap photos in-between, it is much easier to have someone else entertain so that you can focus (literally) on capturing the right moment!
- Get on their level
We often take photos of people at eye-level, so it makes sense to get down when taking photos of toddlers (and small children.) Sit on the floor or kneel to gain a new perspective.
Take part in activities with your toddler. Color with them, play in the sandbox, or help them with their blocks. Not only are you getting better at multitasking 😉 but you are putting them at ease for better photos.
Enjoy these tips? Come check out our Tog Loft classes! Every class is taught by professional photogs with a passion for what they shoot. First session of classes start Sept 26, and you can register here 🙂