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!