Preparing your toddler for portraits - 3 tips

Toddlers - there's no need to fear family photos with a toddler when you incorporate these three tips and let your photographer take the lead! Hiring a photographer who has experience with toddlers and young children is KEY, because as we all know, toddlers can be finicky creatures! As a mom of 3 and a family photographer specializing in newborns and young children, I've picked up a few tips along the way to help parents prepare their little one for photos.

First, I want parents to know that a tantrum mid-session is expected and normal. There is absolutely nothing wrong with your little one if they need a break, need to yell to get their feelings out, or simply need some time to run. Toddlers have brains that are constantly changing and while incredibly intuitive and able to learn SO fast, they don't have the same ability to inhibit their emotions or reactions like adults (thanks to their prefrontal cortex continually being developed throughout childhood and adolescence).

  1. Do: Get excited about your photos together! Let them know that there will be time to play and time to snuggle. Prepare them the day before by explaining where you are going and when, and who will be there - "Tomorrow after dinner, you, me, and Daddy will be going to the beach to meet Ms. Carly. We will play, take some pictures, and have time to snuggle. I am looking forward to spending time with you and Daddy! What questions do you have?" Toddlers truly feed off of your energy, so this step can go a long way in making your session successful.
  2. Don't: Bribe them. Toddlers like instant gratification, and if a treat is promised they'll want it NOW. Stay positive, follow my lead, and let me pull out the lollipops if necessary.
  3. Do: Follow their lead and let them take breaks. If they are wiggly + not feeling the snuggles, we can follow their lead and transition to some playful movement, then circle back for a snuggly family photo - and if they aren't a snuggly kid - that's fine too! We are here to capture what your family is really like in this stage of life. Playful family photos can be just as meaningful as the quieter moments, and represent your family authentically, which is something to treasure.

Carly is a newborn + family photographer and filmmaker located on Florida's Space Coast, specializing in all things motherhood including newborn, fresh 48, maternity, + family sessions. Published in Inspired Magazine and The Motherhood Anthology, Carly aspires to capture timeless, organic images for her clients to cherish, print, and pass down for generations. Serving Cocoa Beach, Viera, Rockledge, Melbourne, Merritt Island, Satellite Beach, and surrounding areas. Learn more here.