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10 ways to Get Toddlers to Cooperate for Photos

Getting toddlers to cooperate for photos can be quite a task, but with some patience and creativity, you can make the process smoother. Here are some tips:


  1. Choose the Right Time: Pick a time when your toddler is well-rested and FED. Avoid scheduling the photo session during their naptime or mealtime.

  2. Keep It Short: Toddlers have short attention spans. I like to keep the photo session brief to prevent them from getting bored or restless. Mini sessions are perfect for this!

  3. Make it Fun: Use props, toys, or objects to grab their attention. If they love dinosaurs or animal noises, bring one to position behind the camera so they can make the animal noise. (You'd be surprised that roaring like a lion can easily look like a smile!) Parents, be prepared to get uncomfortable. Sing songs, play games, or use funny noises to make them laugh and smile naturally.

  4. Have Places for Them to Sit: I've found that toddlers are more likely to take a posed shot if they are sitting! Try using a location where they can sit on rocks, tree stumps, etc., in nature, or bring small chairs or stools for them to sit on.

  5. Engage Them: Instead of trying to pose them, engage them in activities they enjoy. Let them play while you capture candid shots. Follow their lead and capture their natural expressions and movements. Usually, I try posing them first, but if it doesn't work, we engage them next!

  6. Be Patient: Toddlers can be unpredictable, so be patient and flexible. Don't force them to cooperate if they're not in the mood! Take breaks if needed. I love to let them run around and then try again.

  7. Use Positive Reinforcement: Offer praise and rewards for their cooperation. Use small treats as a bribe, like mini saltine crackers—but tuck them away until we absolutely need them! Even if a toddler has not taken a good photo, using a treat ALWAYS makes them happier.

  8. Bring a Helper (or three!): Enlist the help of another adult or older sibling to assist during the photo session. They can help entertain your toddler or capture their attention while you take photos.

  9. Be Prepared: Practice getting them to smile at home before coming for pictures. What silly faces, songs, toys, stuffed animals, or games make them smile? Do they like peek-a-boo? Being tickled? Seeing you dance? Be creative!

  10. Don't Get Upset: Don't get upset if your tricks don't work. I always offer to retake photos of kids 3 and under if you are truly unhappy with the photos or we can't get them to cooperate. Just because YOU are ready doesn't mean a TODDLER is ready. We'll go with the flow and get what we can get!

  11. Bonus Tip: Ages 1-3 are the hardest! Be patient! This time will pass. They grow so fast and we have to do our best to capture them as they are!


Remember, toddlers are the most unpredictable people and we have to be ready to take what we can get! God bless!


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