Mom and dad kissing with their toddler son on dad's shoulders.

Picture this…you arrive on-time or even a few minutes early to your family photo session with your toddler. The weather is perfect and your kids are in the best mood after waking up from a good nap. Let’s stop right there. While this might be the ideal situation, for most of us the stars do not always align perfectly for our photo session and I’m here to tell you to take a deep breath and that it will be okay! Read on if you’d like a few tips for successful photos with your toddler.

Leave your perfect expectations at home.

Like I mentioned before, in our minds we all have an idea about how we hope and wish our photo session will go, but if we are realistic, anytime young children are involved the best option is to just go with the flow. Toddlers might take some time to warm up at a session, and that is okay! I have found that toddlers do best when they have a chance to get to know me a bit. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed they will be. Come to the session with the expectation that you are there to have a sweet time with your family. Expect to play and connect with each other and ultimately you will end up with joyful images in the end.

A black and white images with toddler girl looking over her mother's shoulder

Make sure your kiddos have full bellies.

I would highly recommend feeding your toddler before your session. I know from personal experience that if I arrive anywhere with a hungry toddler that it’s going to be a rough road ahead. Family photo sessions, depending on the time of the year, will occur around or close to dinner time. With that being said, it’s crucial to have either had a meal recently or at least a hearty snack. I would also recommend bringing a “clean” snack along with you for use during the session, but keep it tucked away. A good “clean” snack would be something like fruit snacks, mini marshmallows, or anything that won’t leave a mess on their face or clothing. Say NO to chocolate or skittles! I suggest keeping them tucked away in your pocket because many times they won’t even be needed. If we find you don’t need the snacks you can always use them as a reward for a job well done at the end of the session.

Toddler son looking up at his dad touching his mouth

Don’t demand that they “smile” at the camera.

I don’t know about your kids but my toddlers never enjoyed having things demanded of them. Even to this day, if I say, “smile” or “cheese” they either do the opposite or simply get frustrated with me. They want to play and move around and that is exactly what we want! Let them explore and join in on their exploration. We can suggest things for them to do but ultimately they are in charge. Embrace it and I promise if you do, you will have a much more enjoyable time.

The goal at the end of the session is for you all to have had some fun while embracing the chaos of toddlerhood. Your lifestyle images will forever be a reminder of your child in that particular season of life. While it’s a busy season it’s such a fun one to look back on! Follow these tips and I have no doubt that you will have more successful photos with your toddler.

Need more help preparing for your upcoming session?

Black and white image of two toddler children playing in a big field
Toddler boy playing as his mom gives him a hug

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3 Tips for successful photos with your toddler

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