Photography Tips & Tricks: Photographing Toddlers

I get asked about photography all the time. I figured that I would start posting some tips and tricks to getting better photographs.

Whether you are aspiring to become a professional or not, we all want the ability to take great photos of our kids. Hopefully, with these tips and tricks, I will be able to help you achieve that! Each week, I will take a different question that I’ve been asked and give you my answer for it.

Please know, I am not proclaiming myself an expert. I learn something new every single day. I mess up, and I work hard to learn from those mistakes. I study other photographers and learn from their work. I can always do better. But, I will gladly share some of the tips and tricks that I have learned with you. My hope is that you will benefit from them.

One question I am often asked is this:
Photographing toddlers can be difficult. How do you get them to cooperate for photos? Do you have any distraction techniques?

Any mom of toddlers knows that photographing toddlers can be hit or miss. Some days kids will be great and ham it up for the camera, and other days, they will do anything but what you want them to do! Here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned when it comes to photographing toddlers:

  • You must do the photos on their time. Don’t try to take the photos close to nap or bed time. Your toddler will be cranky, and neither one of you is going to be happy.
  • Also, be careful if you do the photos after they’ve eaten. Suckers, juice, koolaid, berries, and even cooked carrots can make for colored lips, teeth, and tongues and ruin a photo. Sometimes you might not even be able to see the coloring on their face, you snap a photo and WHAM! It magically appears. So, it’s best to just avoid taking photos after lunch or dinner.
  • Understand that it can take a long time and a lot of wasted shots to get “the” shot. As a professional, I can spend up to 3 hours with one toddler. (And I have! Many times!) You just have to take your time, let them take their time, and don’t rush.
  • Bribing usually doesn’t work, and believe me, I’ve tried. I do have a “tickle stick” that I pull out and use. It’s a feather duster that I found at the dollar store eons ago. The thing works like a charm. Just threaten (in a nice way!) to tickle their noses with the tickle stick, rub their nose gently with it, pull back, and SNAP! Instant smile…. usually! 🙂

There are times while photographing toddlers, when nothing you do works. Then, you end up with a shot like this:
At that point, it’s time to take a break. Nothing is going to get accomplished. You are going to get frustrated, and so is your toddler. Try again in a few hours. If your toddler still isn’t ready, then wait a day or two. You’re never going to get “the” shot if your toddler isn’t willing.

The good news is, photographing toddlers can be fun. Let them be themselves. My favorite shots are always the fun and/or candid ones. Take this one for example:
When that photo was taken, Lucy kept pulling up her shirt. I would tell her over and over not to do it, and she would laugh hysterically. During one of those laughing fits, I snapped the photo above. It really shows her personality, and will always be one of my favorites of her.

I hope these tips help you out! Go practice and show me what results you get!

If you have a question you would like me to try and answer, feel free to email me at angie (at) 5vinezmonkeys (dot) com. I’ll do my best to help you out!

Angie Vinez (2894 Posts)

Angie is a wife and mother to 8. Her life revolves around cooking, cleaning, laundry, and other household duties. She is passionate about her life in Christ and wants to encourage other mothers in their own walk of faith. Angie is active on many social media networks, loves technology, photography, and graphic design, and loves creating blog designs for other mom bloggers.


  1. 1
    PamperingBeki says:

    Thanks for the tips!

    I did a photo shoot with my kids this past weekend and the toddler ended up laying on the ground screaming the entire time. 😉

    But it made me laugh so I took pictures of it.

  2. 2
    A little piece of 7th heaven says:

    Hi Angie…
    Thanks so much for those helpful hints! I LOVE PHOTOGRAPHY…thus all the pics on my blog!
    wish I could take a class…no time:(

  3. 3
    RazzberryMomma says:

    Great tips! And great idea! I was actaully thinking of doing a similar blog. Is it bad to just link to your blog and call it a day? LOL! Love the pics! Your girlie is precious!


  4. 4
    Cat@3KidsandUs says:

    Those are great tips. I think we’ve always been just lucky, our kids seem to love the camera.

  5. 5

    Great tips! You are such a good photographer.

  6. 6
    A little piece of 7th heaven says:

    Thanks Angie..
    for all of your help and kind words..
    I will put together some questions once I can gather my thoughts..
    thanks for the websites…I will check them out!

    I left this comment on my blog and on yours..not too sure where you would pick it up as it seems I commented you here earlier:)
    Have to say I love Lucy in BOTH pics..cryin ones get me sometimes..OH, the memories!

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