Toddlers. Those tricky little creatures. They are so active. They are hard to keep up with, much less get a great picture of. Not to worry folks! I’ve got a couple of photography tips for toddlers to share with you.

I have a photography business and I occasionally take family/children shots for only my closest friends because young children are a difficult subject to photograph. Here’s what you can do:


If you have a DSLR, shoot in AV mode. It chooses the shutter speed for you and does most of the work. “But Kim,” you say,  “don’t I want to shoot in Tv mode so I can choose my shutter speed? These kids are fast!”  True story, but I like Av mode because I get to control my depth-of-field. I’m a bokeh junkie and like to shoot between 1.8-2.8 aperture so I get that creamy background. Shooting at that F-stop usually gives you a nice fast shutter, so I don’t stress to much about it.

I can’t say enough about purchasing a 50mm 1.8 lens for your DSLR. It is less than $120 and you can do so much with it.

Now a moment of silence for some yummy bokeh.

Photography Tips for Toddlers


Another tip is to let the child do their thing. There is a time and a place for those posed shots, but it isn’t with me. I like what I find when I look for the shot while they are doing their thing.

This little girl was running around and playing in her grass skirt, then she stopped to check out the flowers. I took the picture of her shaking her thing, because often times parents like the outtakes from the session.

Photography Tips for Toddlers

Then this next photo was taken literally minutes after the previous photo. If you’re patient, “the shot” will most likely come.

Photography Tips for Toddlers


I know you hear people say to get down on their level. It’s true. Do it. You’ll be amazed at the difference. When you go to crop a picture in really tight, if can appear that the child is looking out and above the camera. Getting lower gets you a more straight on perspective, just like those portrait studios. I know, you’re going to have to do a ton of squats, but you really have two options: do the squats or bend over at the waist and stick your butt out. Your choice!

If you have a toddler that just isn’t having it, your best bet is to try again later. You are going to struggle, everyone will be frustrated, and the resulting photos may not represent your best work. If waiting isn’t an option, work with what you have. If the child is clingy to the parent, you can still get head and upper body shots while the parent is holding them. If they are really having a meltdown, those tantrum pictures can really be adorable – and can later be used for blackmail!


  • Toddlers are mobile, moody little creatures. They make you want to rip your hair out….oh wait, we’re talking photography tips here.
  • Shoot in Av mode to choose your aperture. Get your lovely bokeh on.
  • Work with what you have. Be patient. Don’t force it, they will rebel. Let them get some energy out and sneak some photos in while they do their thing. 
  • Finally, get down to their level. Get your squats on. You will have rockin’ photos and rockin’ legs. It’s a win, win!