Photographing toddlers is one hell of a challenge but one of the best ages to capture. Ages 1-3 are the best ages to get some true candid shots of what our toddlers are really like. It is so so easy to capture their personality but for more posed , no blurry shots? Not so much.
I’ve been doing photography for a year now and met a lot of children of different ages as well as take photos daily of my own little terrors, which is actually the hardest challenge. My own children know how to push my boundaries and very rarely listen, they are constantly on the go and bouncing off each other! I know for a fact that I am not the only parent to experience this so here some tips for you non-togs to use to capture them perfect shots.
Are you even a parent if you don’t occasionally bribe your kids with food? Bribery using your child’s favourite snacks is my go to! This trick usually works wonders for getting my children to listen and stay still for at least 10 seconds.
Baby wipes at the ready
If you use snacks , be prepared to use baby wipes. Getting rid of messy faces makes post editing so much easier! Especially if you don’t know how to use the heal tool.
Toys or teddies
Using toys and teddies can work really well depending on setting, you can get some of the best candid shots when your child is occupied with something they love. Teddies they are attached to usually make some of the cutest posed photos!
Get down to their level
Now we have bribery out of the way, let’s focus on how to photograph your toddler. The best way is to get down on their level, I usually stay away from taking photos from above as it’s usually not the best angle for kids depending on set up. If you do plan to take shots from above make sure the child is laid down as this usually works well, especially for cute sibling shots!
Getting down on their level is also less intimidating.
Make it fun!
Not all kids like the camera or being told what to do for that matter! So make it fun. does your toddler like peek-a-boo? Have a favourite toy ? Even consider using music and get them to dance (Baby shark is a fave for most) Another handy trick is to have a phone or TV handy depending on your shooting location. Play their favourite programs , a favourite of mine that keeps ALL kids settled and looking in the direction of the camera is “Hey bear sensory” on YouTube. If you have no clue what this is, search it… Trust me it’s a life saver!
Keep it short and snappy
Toddlers lose interest very quickly so keep your pace quick. Play games, change sets and interest very quickly to keep your toddler on the ball.
Toddler do have a mind of their own so keep this in mind and be patient. If they’re really not in the mood for photo try again at another time. Timing is everything and so is patience. You will not get the perfect shot straight away it will take a few go’s.
If you’re a beginner … be click happy!
If your a phone user or a beginner using a camera, set your settings to burst and constantly click that shutter button. I promise you, even if it takes 100 photos you will get at LEAST 2 perfect shots. Honest.
For those using pro settings
Most phones have pro settings now, portrait settings can be helpful but it can be beneficial to play around with them pro settings. First of all you need to crank up that shutter speed, toddlers move fast so you want to be able to capture them, whilst still capturing crisp pictures. Ideally I would not go under 1/400. For aperture get it low, if your phone or lens has possibilities of reaching f2 this is a good option to go for, especially when up close to get a beautiful bokeh. If you are taking portraits, make sure your focus is on the eyes. ISO ideally keep it as low as you possibly can, this can make images less noisy. Also don’t be afraid to underexpose your image! Underexposing can sometimes be ideal for editing especially if you want a colour pop!
Don’t be scared to play around with the pro settings and teach yourself how your device works.
Learn to edit
After taking your snaps, the most fun part is editing. There are lots of free editing apps available across all platforms. I personally use Photoshop and Lightroom but of course this is a subscription service, although they do a number of apps that give you limited use of features for free. Snapseed is one of the best free editing apps available, you can do all the basics such as light fixes, blemishes, removal of objects and filters. Another brilliant app is Lightleap and Picsart, especially if you would like to get creative. For computer users GIMP is very similar to photoshop and is free to use.
I hope this has given you some helpful tips on how to photograph your toddlers better, just remember, be patient , you won’t always be in control and most importantly have fun!