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3 Tips to Taking Photos with Toddlers

AKA How to reason with a toddler...hahahaha



Toddlers. They are the most entertaining and beautiful little humans. And yet, they pack so many emotions in their tiny little bodies and some days you win, and other days they win! And there is no radar--you don't get to see the good days or bad days coming--nope, you just get hit in the face with all their emotions. And sometimes (read just about every.single.time), the radar is more red than green on photo shoot days! Lol! It's like they know, but really, all they know is that they are doing something that is COMPLETELY off their normal routine and they're not sure how to act in a relatively new situation. Don't worry, toddlers are unpredictable and with a little planning we can work together to make the time so fun, they won't even realize that they're having photos taken! The goal is to have a session full of beautiful smiles, hair in the wind and hearts left soaring because they did SUCH an amazing job!


1. Skip the pressure

“A toddler can do more in one unsupervised minute than most people can do all day.”

Toddler-life is a real thing amiright? They love to play, use their imagination, dance with invisible friends; so sitting down and posing is not something that they usually do. Make no mistake, once they're super comfortable I may try, but for the most part I'm going capture them while they play, will give them creative poses like trying to find the airplane, pointing to their belly and trying to tickle themselves or showing me their cool ninja moves.

2. But also, bring snacks.

#snackbreak #hangry #teamnosleep and soooo, we bring snacks. Depending on nap time, dinner time and whatever your schedule usually looks like and since we already know that a photoshoot can be interrupting, you may end up needing to take a tiny snack break. So just plan on it! You know that "When Momma ain't happy" quote? Well, during a photoshoot, "When toddler ain't happy..." and that can be easily resolved with a little blood sugar spike. ;)

3. Don't promise treats

Silence is golden. Unless you have a toddler.”

One of the best ways to help out your photographer is to not promise your child treats during the shoot. There is just no way that your photographer and the already schedule interrupting photoshoot can compare with fro-yo and all the toppings! If you promise treats during the shoot you can actually accidentally add more stress because they'll smile quick, but it won't be genuine. They can get upset because that's it, they want their ice-cream now and nothing else is going to stand in their way. Tears come, they get confused because they don't have any concept of time or order of things and it's.just.so.confusing.for.them. Yes, please get them a treat--they did an amazing job and celebrating this season with them is so important.

Bonus: Lower your expectations

I don't mean all the way to the ground--but maybe a little close to the ground? I'm holding up my pointer and thumb and they're pretty close together. ;) Here's my point though--as one mother to another, I don't have to tell you that childhood happens so very fast. I read a quote that said you get 18 summers in childhood and just about cried--because 18 is such a tiny number! Taking photos with toddlers definitely takes some effort, but it's beyond worth it. When you look up and your 3 year old is suddenly 9 years old and is closer to your head than your ankles, you pull out the photos and remember. You remember how much he loved Godzilla and how he used to roar, you remember when she would put on her favorite Cinderella dress and wave her wand, and you remember their little voices. And when you look at those photos you wish you had more, and when you look at photos after your shoot, you'll be so glad you made the effort to freeze a little more time.

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Deanna Chapa is a portrait and lifestyle photographer serving Gilroy, Morgan Hill, San Jose and the greater Bay Area. Interested in having me shoot your wedding? Click on over!

© 2020 Deanna Chapa. Deanna Rose Photography.