Toddlers are one of the most difficult age groups to photograph due to their ability to run around and do whatever they want. Not to mention they tend to be attached to their parents. So for today’s photo tip, I want to offer some advice to parents and photographers for how to prepare for and execute a photo session involving a toddler.
- Pick a location that allows room for the toddler to run around and explore, yet is still visually appealing and offers great lighting.
- Schedule the session around the child’s nap time. A sleepy toddler is a cranky toddler, which doesn’t mix well with a photo shoot.
- Make sure the child is well fed before the session begins. Also be sure to have plenty of snacks and a drink on hand during the photo shoot.
- If the toddler does better when an older sibling is around, have the sibling tag along. Just be sure to appropriately dress them for the photos as well, just in case they end up in a few.
- Feel free to have a favorite toy or some other attention grabber on hand in the event it is needed.
The Photo Session:
- As the photographer (likely a stranger to the child), make sure to introduce yourself to the toddler on their level. Also tell them why you are there. You can even let them look at your camera and push a few buttons if they want.
- Let the toddler walk or run around and explore their environment while they warm up to you. While they are doing this, feel free to snap and few candid shots as those are often the best photos of toddlers anyway.
- Once the child has had the opportunity to get a little more comfortable with having you around, try directing them to a certain area. If they do well with that, you can try asking them to sit on a blanket or a prop. *If they don’t want to do what you ask them to, never try to force them to do it, this will only make them upset. Basically, let the toddler dictate the session with some occasional guidance from the photographer or the parent.
- Make the session fun and interact with the child as much as you can. (i..e. run around with them, get on the playground, etc.)