How to Prepare for Family Photos with Toddlers

Toddlers can be unpredictable when it comes to their mood and willingness to cooperate. Their energy levels are in overdrive most days. When it comes to family photos, in-order to have some sense of control, review some of my toddler tips for photo day.

1.) Talk About the BIG Day

Once you’ve scheduled a photo session, it’s important to start talking about it right away with your toddler. Toddlers don’t like surprises and find a sense of control when they understand what is to be expected. It helps when you build it up by explaining how fun the photo session will be.

2.) Use Pinterest for Inspiration

Go find family photo shots from Pinterest (or any search source) that you love. Show your family your favorites so they can understand the process and get excited for their own poses. Don’t forget to share these inspirations with your photographer too!

3.) Plan Ahead

For family photos with toddlers, you have a small window of time to get that one family shot (iconic shot) with everyone looking perfect. It helps if you decide ahead of time what backdrop is most important to you and if you prefer to be sitting or standing for the photo. Also, do you want your favorite photo (maybe the one to be hung above the fireplace mantle) to be horizontal or vertical? This is something you want to communicate with your photographer ahead of time because the first few shots are usually the best ones.

4.) Include an Activity

After you get that one good family shot (iconic shot) where everyone is looking perfect, there will be a lot of filler that you photographer will have you do to capture some more organic moments. Some good ideas during this time include bubbles (outdoor shoot), making hot cocoa or lemonade (indoor shoot), painting, playing in the sheets or jumping on the bed. The options are endless, but have something planned to keep the kids entertained.

5.) Try a Little Bribery

My secret weapon for toddlers (and big kids too) - mini marshmallows! When you need to get one more good smile out your toddler, little bribes are acceptable. Things like mini marshmallows are a good example of the perfect bribe. They are small and white (like their teeth), so even if the marshmallow appears in the photo, the little, white puffs are better to see versus a chocolatey, brown mess or a bright red mouth from a Skittle.

6.) Relax & Have Fun

Moms, it’s okay to let your hair down! This rule applies especially for all you who need to have everything in-order. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a type-A personality, but on family photo day, you have to let loose.

Your toddler will be jumping all over you, so you can’t worry about the placement of your hair. As mentioned above, that first iconic family shot is where you can have your perfect locks, but after that, it’s a “free for all!” Let kids be kids! Some of the best moments are photographed when the parents let loose, allowing the kids to be themselves.

7.) Gadgets, Tablets & More

We all try to avoid the electronics as much a possible, but there’s always a time and a place, right? But how does Mom’s cell phone have anything to do with family photos? I’ve found in recent years that at the end of a session, after all the hyper activity has happened and meltdowns are beginning, whipping out the iPad or playing a show on the television, helps children “zone out.” This tactic doesn’t have to be used, but for those snuggly, calm photos at the end of the shoot, this is the secret weapon.

Let's recap, shall we?

1.) Talk about the big day with your toddler.

2.) Use Pinterest or old family photo favorites for inspiration and education with your toddler.

3.) Plan that iconic family shot ahead of time.

4.) Include a fun activity to do with your toddlers during the session.

5.) Bribes! There is a time and a place and family photos is one of those times and places!

6.) Let's loose & have fun!

7.) Tablets + Gadgets at the end of the shoot.



***For more from these adorable family shoots, click here!

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