Tips for Photographing Toddlers

Little girl with shopping bags

Copyright to Amanda Rugal (

Photographing toddlers, especially those who are walking, can be quite a task. Many are on the go all the time! There’s so much going on around them that has them interested versus sitting still and have their photo taken.

Choosing Your Location

  • Decide on a location with plenty of room to move around so if your kids are very active and mobile, you can easily catch their moments. A photo session will go more smoothly if you make a play session out of it.
  • Nine times out of 10, I prefer and recommend taking photographs outdoors. The lighting is natural, the scenery is rich and the kids really seem to enjoy it.
  • If the weather doesn’t allow you to go outdoors, choose an indoor space with walking room. Though it’s easy to imagine and set up a small designated spot for the shoot, it rarely goes as planned.

During the Shoot

  • Atmosphere. The calmer the environment, the better your little ones will respond and engage.
  • Have a helper. Use an assistant to help your kids stay focused. The helper should stand directly behind you while you kneel as this helps make sure your subject is looking in your direction and making eye contact towards the camera. It’s natural for helpers to get super goofy and yell the kids’ names or “cheese” or to bribe the kids with treats, but this can become very overwhelming and distracting.
  • Play copy cat. Have the kids to mimic your smiles or your poses. They’ll take pride in what they are capable of.  Even if it’s something they aren’t able to do yet, you’ll definitely get adorable candid shots of them trying and their reactions.
  • Bring in the props. This gives the kids something to hold onto and gaze at. This helps entertain your kids while keeping them in the area where you need them.
  • Bribes. If you have to resort to these, use a treat that serves as a prop as well. I’ve had very cute photographs with children holding lollypops, cupcakes and such.

– Amanda Rugal, Beaumont Parenting Program volunteer and photographer at


1 Response to “Tips for Photographing Toddlers”

  1. 1 Rebecca May 13, 2014 at 10:51 am

    Thanks so much for the tips! I’m so tired of getting photos of a running blur.

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