Preserving Precious Moments: My trick and Tips working with toddlers for Timeless Portraits

As a parent, I know how difficult it can be to capture those precious moments with our little ones. They are constantly moving, easily distracted and have a short attention span. This makes taking photos of them a challenging task for any photographer.

But over the years of working with toddlers, I have developed my own bag of tricks and tips that have helped me create timeless portraits of them. These techniques have not only kept the children entertained and engaged, but also allowed me to capture authentic and natural moments.

In this guide, I will be sharing my tips and tricks for working with toddlers to help you preserve those precious memories for a lifetime. So whether you are a parent trying to take photos of your child or a photographer looking to improve your skills in capturing children, these tips will surely come in handy.

The Importance of Preparation

As with any photo shoot, preparation is key when it comes to working with toddlers. Children can be unpredictable and easily get bored, so having a plan in place ahead of time will help ensure a successful session.

Before the shoot, I always make sure to communicate with the parents about their child’s interests, favorite toys or activities. This helps me plan out potential props or activities that can keep the child entertained during the shoot. I also make sure to have all my equipment ready and set up before the child arrives, as setting up during the shoot can cause distractions.

Tips and tricks to keep kids entertained

As mentioned earlier, I have my own bag of tricks and techniques that I use during toddler photo shoots to keep them entertained and engaged. Here are some of my go-to strategies:

  • Using a feather duster to tickle the child: This may sound silly, but it always gets a genuine laugh from the child and creates baby photography fun and candid moments.
  • Lens buddies: These are small stuffed animals or toys that attach to the intuitive EOS Sony camera lens. They help grab the attention of the child and encourage them to look at the camera.
  • Singing and dancing: Children love music and singing, so incorporating this into the shoot can keep them entertained and create natural, joyful expressions.
  • Going with the child’s flow: Instead of forcing specific poses or actions, I always go with the child’s natural energy and ask them questions or make them my helper. This not only keeps them engaged but also allows for more genuine and authentic shots.
  • Backyard for fresh air: My studio has a direct entrance to my backyard. This gives the child an opportunity to take breaks and play outside and get some fresh air if needed. My backyard also has a playground, swing set, trampoline and playhouse for them to enjoy. Watch this video about my backyard!
  • Bribes: Let’s face it, sometimes bribing is necessary when working with toddlers. In my client care kit, I always have snacks, lollipops or candies to offer as incentives if needed.
  • Furry friends: Animals can be great at keeping children entertained and smiling. My last secret weapon is my pet bunny who loves to hop around and make kids laugh. She is not in my studio, but your kids will get to see her if none of my tricks as mentioned above work.

How I Work with Parents


In addition to preparing for the shoot and keeping the child entertained, working with parents is also important. Here are some ways I involve and work with parents during toddler photo shoots:

  • Get them involved: Parents know their child best, so I always make sure to get their input and ideas before and during the shoot.
  • Keep them close: For younger children, having the parents nearby can help them feel more comfortable and at ease during the shoot.
  • Be patient: Photographing toddlers can be challenging, so it’s important to be patient with both the child and their parents. This helps create a relaxed atmosphere and allows for natural moments to be captured.
  • Show them previews: To keep the parents excited and engaged, I like to show them a few preview shots at the back of the camera during the shoot. This also gives them an idea of what to expect from the final photos.

How Safety Comes First

As with any photo shoot, safety is a top priority when working with toddlers. Their curious and energetic nature can lead to accidents if proper precautions are not taken. The first step to ensuring safety during a toddler photo shoot is to communicate with the parents about any potential hazards or health concerns.

I always make sure to have a clean and safe studio environment, free of any sharp objects or harmful substances. I also have an assistant present during the shoot to help keep an eye on the child and assist with any poses or props.

When working outdoors, I take into consideration factors such as weather conditions and possible allergens. If the child has any allergies, I make sure to avoid those allergens and have any necessary medication on hand.

During the shoot, I always keep a first aid kit nearby in case of any accidents. I also make sure to give breaks for snacks and water, as well as bathroom breaks if needed.

Another important aspect of safety is obtaining permission from the parents before using any photos on social media or for marketing purposes. As a photographer, it’s crucial to respect the privacy and boundaries of both the child and their parents. And To quickly your photos are not in danger of being posted without consent, I have a signed release form for each client agreeing to the use of their photos.

In addition to physical safety, emotional safety is also important when working with toddlers. Children can easily become overwhelmed or upset during a photo shoot, so I always make sure to take breaks and check in with the child’s emotions. If they are uncomfortable or upset, I make adjustments and give them time to calm down before continuing.

Should toddlers always be smiling in photos?

As a professional photographer, I understand the desire for perfect and happy shots of children. However, it’s important to remember that toddlers are still developing their emotions and may not always feel like smiling or posing. And that’s okay!

I believe in capturing authentic moments and expressions, even if they aren’t always picture-perfect. Children can be just as adorable and lovable with a serious or thoughtful expression, and those moments can be just as cherished by their parents.

Plus, trying to force a smile or pose on a toddler can often lead to frustration and tears. As mentioned earlier, I prefer to go with the child’s natural energy and capture their genuine emotions in a relaxed and fun environment.

first birthday photoshoot

Connect with me at Light & Grace Photography

If you’re interested in booking a toddler photo shoot or learning more about my work, please feel free to visit my website at Light & Grace Photography. You can also follow me on social media for updates and sneak peeks of my latest sessions!

I have years of experience working with toddlers and their families, and I am dedicated to capturing beautiful and heartfelt moments that will be treasured for years to come.

Plus, as a parent myself, I understand the joys and challenges of working with young children and am always prepared to go above and beyond to ensure a successful and enjoyable photo shoot. Thank you for considering me as your photographer!

Lastly, remember that these moments are fleeting so don’t hesitate to capture them in photographs. Let’s create lasting memories together!

Keep smiling!


What are some baby photography tips for shooting stunning family portraits and preserving timeless memories?

One of the key tips for baby photography is patience. Toddlers can be unpredictable, so be prepared to go with the flow. Sometimes, I use my camera with a silent shooting mode, which can help avoid startling the baby during the photo session.

What camera settings do you use that are best for shooting toddlers?

Continuous shooting mode can be useful when working with toddlers, as it allows me to capture countless precious moments in rapid succession. Sony’s Real-time Eye AF feature is a must! It is used to automatically detect and track the eyes of humans and is especially handy during candid or action shots where the baby or toddler is moving around. I always ensure my camera has enough memory storage and battery life to accommodate this mode.

What other tools and tricks do I use for a successful family photography session?

In addition to my camera, I use studio lighting to give me more control over the lighting. This can help avoid harsh shadows and create more flattering light for my subjects. I also use props like toys to keep toddlers entertained. And the backdrop – sometimes, just a white sheet can provide a clean, timeless look for family photography.

How can I capture timeless portraits of toddlers during family photo sessions?

During family photo session, allow toddlers to play and explore for natural, candid shots. I sometimes utilize scene mode macro to focus on baby’s tiny features. I also use their favorite toys or snacks to quickly get the photos I want.

How can off-camera flash enhance family photography?

When I am shooting outdoors, I often use an off-camera flash in family photography lets me control light direction and quality, adding depth to your images. This technique highlights baby’s features and beautifully captures family memories, creating timeless portraits.



In conclusion, photographing toddlers can be challenging yet rewarding. With the right preparation, creativity, and patience, it’s possible to family photography capture beautiful and authentic shots that parents will cherish for a lifetime.

Also, involving parents and prioritizing safety is crucial when working with young children. And remember, it’s okay for toddlers to not always be smiling in photos. Authentic moments are just as valuable, if not more.

Thank you for reading and I hope this guide has been helpful in understanding my approach to baby photography. I look forward to working with you and your little ones!

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