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10 Tips for Taking Better Toddler Photos
I get asked pretty often just how I am able to get so many good photos of my 17-month-old, since well…she’s 17-months-old which is typically a very wiggly stage where it’s basically a miracle to get a non-blurry photo. I don’t have one specific secret, and I can assure you that my child is not any better at following directions than any other on-the-go toddler (if anything, she is on the more active side), but over time I’ve developed quite a few tricks that help me capture those super cute shots. Here are 10 simple tips that will have you on your way to taking better toddler photos in no time!
10 Tips For Taking Better Toddler Photos
1. Give them a prop
Toddlers are on the go, so snapping a non-blurry photo of them is always an impressive feat. My top trick for getting good toddler photos? Employ props! If you were to look through my Instagram feed, you might notice that more often than not, Fern is holding something. If we’re outside it might be a pinecone, or just a random toy she won’t let go of, but other times I get creative and hand her a prop that’s a little more aesthetically pleasing. Never underestimate the power of props!
2. Give them an instruction
If you don’t have any props available, try distracting your little one with an instruction. In this photo I asked her to show me what was in her pocket (note: there wasn’t even anything in her pocket). Aside from being incredibly quick, toddlers are thankfully also very easily distracted so use it to your advantage!
3. Embrace action shots
As tempting as it can be to want to try to capture so many photos of your toddler sweetly sitting still, it’s just not gonna happen. Embrace action in your photos. Not only will they be easier to take, but the photos will have more life in them and will tell a story too.
4. Hold your camera still
This might sound overly simplistic, but seriously…hold that camera still. A still camera will help to balance out toddler movement at least a little bit. Most of my photos are taken with my phone, so this is even more important. Even just bringing your arms in closer to your body instead of out in front of you while taking a photo will make a huge difference.
5. Focus on details
Don’t forget to focus in on the little details that you want to remember about your little one. Capturing those sweet curls, or a close-up of a chubby toddler hand will be treasured down the road when they are grown.
6. Have them sit on a chair
Even though my daughter knows how to climb up and down from chairs and other furniture now, it’s still a great way to get her to stop and be still in one place for a few moments. Her current favorite is this tiny chair that my parents got her, but sometimes I’ll have her sit on the couch or other full-size furniture instead.
7. Be patient
Sometimes you’re really going to want to capture a certain shot and it’s just not gonna happen the very moment you want it to. Try to be patient. Hang out with your child naturally and wait until they stop for a moment to sneak a photo or two. Not only will these photos appear to be more natural, but your child probably won’t get quite as annoyed with having a camera in their face.
8. Invest in a fast shutter speed
While your at it with those action shots, you may want to step up your camera game to something with a faster shutter speed, even if it’s just a camera phone upgrade. Recently I invested in a “real” camera because my iPhone photos just weren’t cutting it anymore – too slow to capture a speedy toddler. But then I actually ended upgrading to a new version of my phone as well and it made a world of difference in my ability to snap photos quickly and get better shots.
9. Find the light
I cannot overstate the importance of finding the light. It will instantly make your photos look lovelier, but it will also help you to get a more clear photo. I can’t stand using a flash, so I always try to take photos in bright, indirect light, because low-lit situations are a recipe for blurry photos even without a wiggly toddler in them. When shooting outside, look for well-lit shady areas. Photos taken in direct, very bright sunlight typically don’t turn out as well. But, if you are trying to capture a fun moment in bright sun, you can always go back and edit your photo later – even just in a photo app – which I do often.
10. Take too many photos
…Because there’s no such thing as “too many photos”. Thank goodness for digital cameras that allow us to take a ton of shots and then go back through to find a good one later. I think only one in every 10-15 of my photos turns out well, and as such I always make sure to take a lot, because I can always delete the outtakes later.