Having your family photos with toddlers takes a little more preparation than regular family photos. Toddlers can be a little more strong willed and opinionated and no amount of bribing can help you. However, it is 100% worth it. Because when you follow these must dos for family photos with toddlers, you’ll have a gallery of images full of love, joy, and personality to cherish forever.
When I say toddlers I am referring to ages 18 months until about 4.5 or 5 years old.
These are 7 tips to make the most of your family photo session with your little ones.
The first tip is to try clothes on your toddler ahead of time.
I completely understand not wanting to have clothes ruined or stained before picture day. However, it is worth a little risk to do a quick try on. You want to ensure that the outfit fits your child well and that they are comfortable in it. Often trying on a special outfit gets them excited to wear it again.
Bonus tip: Try the toss test to make sure the outfit fits well, not too big and not too small. Have dad toss them into the air, twirl them around and see how the clothes do. If you have to adjust it way too much then maybe it is too big or not ideal for pictures.
Before your family photos with toddlers try on their shoes.
If you’re purchasing shoes for photos, try them on your child. Make sure they fit well and that they can comfortably walk in them. Do they fall off or need regular adjusting? If so, I suggest getting new or different shoes. No matter how cute or stylish the shoes are, it isn’t worth your child be uncomfortable and unhappy.
Bonus Tip: Have your child try running and jumping in them. Make sure the shoes don’t come off.
Toddlers wearing dresses need tights, leggings, or under shorts on, too.
Family photo sessions are about having fun together as a family. There is plenty of movement. During family photos with toddlers, there is even more movement! The last thing you want is a diaper (or undies if potty trained already) peeking out underneath their dress distracting from the moment in the photo.
Bonus Tip: During cooler months, tights and leggings also act to keep your child warm.
Plan to arrive 20 to 25 minutes early to your family photo session.
I recommend planning extra time always. However, this is even more important for family photos with toddlers. Why? They could fall asleep on the way, leading them to be groggy or fussy as they wake up. While this is okay, of course, we will go at their pace.
Arriving early allows you to ensure you find parking, gives them some time to wake up, stretch their legs and even have a little pick me up snack.
Bonus tip: Select clean snacks that don’t stain faces or stick in teeth, like graham crackers.
Put on a fresh diaper once you arrive at the session location.
Even if you changed it before you left the house. Trust me, a fresh diaper is always best. You don’t want to end up with a soggy diaper in your photos.
Talk up the session to your child before your family photos with toddlers.
Explain that you’re going to explore and have fun together as a family. Make it sound like an adventure. Even mention your photographer, their name and how they will take photos of you. They will get excited and feel a bit more in control versus telling them they will be taking photos and have to do what they are told. This also helps those children who might be a little anxious of the unknown.
Bonus Tip: Make it a fun family evening, with photos and then a fun treat (like hot chocolate or ice cream) for after the session.
Finally, relax and trust in your photographer to worry about your children.
It’s is my job to worry about capturing the photos. So you get to relax! Smile, play, love on your kids. They will feel you relaxed and will act accordingly. They could be smiling and having fun and you’re adjusting their shirt collar for the 100th time (another reason why I say follow rule 1 above!).
It may feel like a lot, but really it’s a few simple steps you can do to really ensure your family photos with toddlers runs more smoothly. When you’re not worried about clothing or running late you can focus on what matters, loving on your family during your family photo session!
Looking for a laid back, family photographer in the Seattle area?
Peek around my website (like see my Family Photography page, Pricing for Seattle Area Family Photo Sessions and even learn more About the photographer) to ensure I’m the right fit for you. Hint, if you’re looking for laid back, low stress sessions with plenty of fun, focus on your love and joy. I bet we’re a match! Then you can contact me to book your family photo session.