How to Take Great Toddler Photos

We recently got pictures done for Izzy’s first birthday! When she was a newborn we took photos so we decided it would be fitting to do it again. My family loves photography and playing around with Photoshop, but we decided to hire someone for this job (see more at Photography by Dana Lee). As I prepared for the toddler photos I did some research and gathering of supplies. I’ve found babies are extremely hard to take pictures of! Maybe it’s their constant movement or their quickly changing moods. 

First a hilarious outtake from her birthday party:


5 Tips for How to Take Great Toddler Photos

  • Do Your Research – Before our photo shoot I searched Pinterest for my favorite photographs. I love candid photos, but I also wanted to try a few planned poses. Pinterest is wonderful for finding unique ways to photograph your child. Take a look at my Photography Board on Pinterest. Also research the location you want to take your pictures. Do you want flowers, fields, barns, etc? Your photographer may have some ideas so work with them on finding the perfect backdrop.

5 Tips for How to Take Great Toddler Photos

  • Be Flexible – Something I definitely needed to work on when I first became a mother was flexibility! In all things motherhood we must be flexible and patient. The same applies to toddler photos. You may need to take breaks and you may not get the exact photo you wanted. But that is okay! It should be fun, so as much as possible – Let it go!
  • Be Prepared – One of my friends gave me a wonderful tip before the photo shoot. Know what makes Izzy smile! For some reason she LOVES the “I’m bring home a baby bumble bee…” song. We knew singing this song would bring a big grin to her face. You may also want to bring toys or noise makers to get your child’s attention. Lastly, we brought food and milk! It’s important to pick a time of day where your toddler is typically happy and make sure they aren’t hungry or too tired.

5 Tips for How to Take Great Toddler Photos

  • Take A Lot of Photos – Since we did a professional photo shoot we weren’t in charge of this aspect. But when I take my own photos I make sure I take a lot. Toddlers are busy so you may need to take 100 photos to get 1 good one. It’s better to error on the side of caution and take too many.
  • Consider Bringing Props – We love pictures of Izzy by herself, but we also wanted to bring some props to add a special touch to the photograph. We brought a few things of our own and our photographer also had beautiful props with her. Things to consider: antique quilts, chairs, hats/bows/headbands, bubbles to blow in the picture, chalkboards, mirrors, outfit changes, balloons, etc.

5 Tips for How to Take Great Toddler Photos

Have you taken toddler photos? What advice would you add to this list?

5 Tips for How to Take Great Toddler Photos


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  1. Honestly, these are good tips not just for toddlers… I’d say for 6 year old kiddos too!! Maintaining some form of entertainment is key with their little attention spans and lack of complete understanding as to what’s going on!

  2. I am a photographer and a preschool teacher. I love photographing little ones. This is a great list of tips. I always make sure I bring candy or fruit snacks as incentive. I also always suggest that we shoot little ones at a park or somewhere that they can play freely because I think this yields the best results. If the child is nervous, show them how the camera works and let them snap a picture of you first.

    1. I have a macbook so I use iPhoto and Photoshop for editing. There are some great tutorials on YouTube! I have a Nikon D90, but I sometimes borrow my Dad’s camera (Nikon D7100).

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