Surviving a Photo Session With a Toddler


Anyone who’s ever had a toddler knows that they are a pretty opinionated demographic. These little people rule their kingdoms with authoritarian precision. We are but serfs in their quest for independence and knowledge. Understanding how toddlers behave and react to situations can be a lifesaver when taking their portraits. Bribery only goes so far, but does have its merits. 😉 I’m looking at you, promised ice cream cone. Here are my humble and sometimes successful tips (I’m really selling this, right?) as a mom and photographer of toddlers.

Schedule around naps and meals.

I know what hangry looks like in my house. Hunger + Angry = Hangry for those of you wondering what I’m talking about. Hangry looks like a little girl who’s melting down over multiple things per minute, and an impatient and grumpy mama who’s having a hard time coping with said meltdowns. Don’t schedule a photo shoot for a time when you know your child will be in dire need of food or sleep. It won’t be good for anyone.

Make it Fun!

Blarghhh getting your photos taken can be such a bore, am I right? Nope! Not with a toddler. They can either be fun or they can be terrible. Obviously, we aim for the first option. Try to frame the photo session as an exciting adventure that’s going to happen. Sometimes in an effort to get their children to behave, parents begin a photo session with angry threats. This sets a tone for the session that is negative. Try to find something to occupy kids with. Let them run around for a minute to get some energy out, or let them jump up and down or give them a piggy back ride. Every session is different, as is every family. Finding a way to get children excited creates an atmosphere that lends itself for more natural and honest photos.

Know When the Session is Over

With kids, it’s usually pretty easy to tell when they’re over something. Meltdowns ensue. Once you’ve reached this point, it’s pretty hard to make a come back. Quickly move through the five stages of grief and accept that the time for photos has come to an end.

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