The Biggest Mistake You Might Be Making When Dressing Your Toddler for Family Photos | Snoqualmie Family Photographer

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I am Neyssa Lee a mother of six, who is planning obsessed, and uses photography to help you see the beauty in your own family’s chaos. Learn more by heading to my ABOUT ME page.

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Hi, I'm Neyssa

Wait! Don’t put that on your toddler for family photos!

Did I get your attention? Good.

If you have a toddler, you already know they are full of energy and personality, all with a longing for independence.

Toddlers can also be fun to dress for family photos. They are out of the “baby” stage, so it can be easy to want to dress them like the big kids. However, there are a few things you want to watch out for when selecting outfits.

I’m here offering up my top 5 pitfalls to avoid when dressing your toddler for family photos. These tips will leave you with things to consider when dressing your child, all while providing you with easy fixes. These will not only help your picture day go more smoothly, but will ensure your child’s outfit won’t distract from your child’s face!


Biggest mistake when dressing toddlers for family photos, Neyssa Lee Photography, What to wear for family photos with toddlers, Photo of family of four in the mountains

Pitfall #1: Avoid outfits that do not allow easy movement.

Toddlers aren’t always the sturdiest on their feet. They may love to run on their own, but not without a few tumbles. Adding in clothing that trips them up just makes matters worse. So embrace this stage and look for things that doesn’t hinder movement.

A great way to test an outfit is to try it on them and let them run around the house in it. Do they seem to trip or struggle walking more than normal? If so, look for something else. Trust me, you’ll be happy you did.


Biggest mistake when dressing toddlers for family photos, Neyssa Lee Photography, What to wear for family photos with toddlers, Portrait of a toddler girl

Pitfall #2: Avoid bulky layers.

Yes, keeping your child warm is key. A cold child is an unhappy child. (Remind me to tell you the story of that one time we did not have enough layers for my daughter and she froze and cried most of the time….)

However, you also want to be able to see your child. If the layers are bulky they can get in the way as you move and play. Also see the tip above. Bulky layers can make it more difficult for them to move.

Instead, think of thin, warm layers. Long sleeves under a sweater, for example.


Biggest mistake when dressing toddlers for family photos, Neyssa Lee Photography, What to wear for family photos with toddlers, Lifestyle Photo of family of four

Pitfall #3: Avoid uncomfortable fabrics

Toddlers are extra particular about how their clothing feels. They are not likely to just embrace the sweater that is a little itchy, or the jeans that are too stiff to move in. Something may look adorable, but if your toddler is uncomfortable we will all know it and it will show in your photos as they fidget with their clothes or move more awkwardly.

Pitfall #4: Avoid too many accessories or ill-fitting accessories.

Accessories can be adorable and add interest to your photos. A cute little beanie during the winter can add a pop of color, or a headband for that little bald baby girl (I had three bald baby girls, so I get it).

However, accessories can also be distractions, especially for toddlers. Ensure that your accessories will stay put with movement so you’re not spending the entire time replacing headbands or hair clips.


Biggest mistake when dressing toddlers for family photos, Neyssa Lee Photography, What to wear for family photos with toddlers, Photo of mother and her two daughters

Pitfall #5: Avoid dressing your child in something they dislike.

This is a pitfall for any age. It can be easy to just want to dress your child in something that you love or that works perfectly with the rest of the family’s outfits. However, if you pick a dress and your child hates wearing dresses, or you pick jeans and your child only wears “soft pants” you will pay for it during your session. (True story, my oldest would only wear “soft pants,” as he called until he was 3 or 4 years old).

Embrace their preferences when selecting their outfit and you’ll both be happier come picture day.

So what should you dress your toddler in?

Pick something that your will be comfortable in, something she can wear without noticing it. The best way to find out, is to do a test run. Dress her in the outfit and let her run around and play around the house. If she doesn’t pull or fuss, you’re golden.


Biggest mistake when dressing toddlers for family photos, Neyssa Lee Photography, What to wear for family photos with toddlers, Photo of family of four playing in the mountains

Once you have your toddler dressed, try the flying high test.

Have your husband pick them up, fly them like an airplane and twirl them around. As he does this notice, did you forget tights under that dress? Does her outfit completely fall off (think of straps falling down, sweaters riding up, etc). Of course, the outfit is expected to move a bit. However, if their face is covered the entire time, or when you come back down everything has to be completely readjusted, try another outfit option.

As always, I’m here for my families. If you have a session scheduled with me and have questions, I’m more than happy to help so that you feel confident in your outfit choices!

Now that you’re ready to dress your toddler, don’t forget about yourself, mama. Head to the link below for my top tips for selecting outfits for moms.

For a few more favorites from the family of four’s session in the mountains, peek through below. Be inspired as this mama dressed two toddlers beautifully and it surely showed in their gallery.

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