You’ve scheduled your family photo session feeling so excited that you’re going to get beautiful images of your family. Then it hit you. You have a toddler!

  • How are you going to make it through your family photo session with a toddler?
  • How is your photographer going to get any good photos with a rambunctious toddler who’d rather be doing anything else?
  • Is this a waste of money?

Don’t worry. There’s hope! Your photographer will be able to get amazing photos so leave your stress at home. Many of the tips below are things your family photographer will likely already do, but it doesn’t help to come prepared when you have family photos with toddlers or young kids. 


How to make your family photos with a toddler go smoothly:


Choose a photographer who specializes in family photography with young kids

There are hundreds of photographers out there. Many do weddings, headshots, real estate, families, etc. If it can be photographed, they’ll do it. While, I respect all photographers, when you have young kids, it’s important to find a photographer who loves family photography and has the skills to capture this age group. You’d never hire a real estate photographer to photograph your wedding, so take the time to find the right photographer for your family has well.


Get to know your photographer

If you have photos done and love the results, try to use the same photographer year after year. Your kids will feel more comfortable and your photographer will start to know your kid’s uniqueness. This will create better photos and easier sessions for everyone.


Don’t schedule the session during nap time or right after if there’s a chance you’ll have to wake your toddler to get there

Having a well rested, just fed toddler, is your best bet for an easy session. It’s really your best bet for a successful anything with a toddler!


family photos with toddlers

Lean into the moments

Rather than trying to control each moment, lean into what’s naturally happening. If your toddler’s upset, take a snuggle break. If she wants to run, play a quick game of chase, if he doesn’t want to sit still, pick him up and dance or sway. It’s moments like these that bring out your child’s personality and gives your photographer the chance to capture your true connection. Trust me, these will be your favorite images!


Bring music

Upload a quick playlist of songs you and your kids love. Music is magical at a session, especially when a little movement is needed. 


Have a favorite toy, stuffed, animal or blanket on hand- having something your toddler loves could change the whole session

Your child may feel anxious about a stranger taking photos (just like you are), so bring a comforting item just in case. 


Keep things light and positive your child’s behavior is usually a direct reflection of how you’re feeling

If you smile, laugh, stay calm, it’s much more likely they will too. Try to stay positive, even with an uncooperative toddler. Instead of doing too much correcting, aim for redirecting and encouraging. Stay playful and happy and everything will go fine.


Treat the session like another day at the park

Pretend like the camera isn’t there. Your photographer will give you some direction, but engage with your kids like you normally would. Play, dance, chase each other. This experience should be fun for everyone, especially if you want them to ever do it again in the future!

family photos with toddlers


Let your photographer do the work

Let your photographer take the lead with getting your kids to look at the camera, smile, or pose in any certain way. The less you correct your child, the more likely they are to stay happy!



Let the session unfold and relax. Most likely, your photographer will be able to get beautiful photos for you, and if for any reason, your toddler is too upset, your photographer will reschedule and all will be well. Just try to relax!


Walk away for a moment if you need to

It’s always okay to walk away for a moment. If your toddler just needs a moment to relax, take a quick walk and reconnect with her. Tell your photographer what you need is you can tell things are going downhill. 


Play games

Peek a boo, follow the leader, duck duck goose, tell jokes, anything to keep things fun and engaging for your little one!


Things will not go perfectly. Can you think of a day in the recent passed that went perfectly with your toddler? Expect hiccups, uncooperative kids, and maybe even tantrums, but don’t fret. The more relaxed and positive you stay, the happier your family will be. Take the pressure off yourself and just show up to your session ready to make memories with your family. Your photographer will do the rest!