Photographing Toddlers - 5 Tips from a San Francisco Bay Area Family Photographer

October 02, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

5 Tips for Getting Great Professional Photos of your Toddler

Portrait of Little Girl Playing at the ParkPortrait of Little Girl Playing at the ParkPortrait of a two-year old toddler girl playing and hanging from the bar at Hap Magee Ranch Park in Danville, CA by San Francisco Bay Area family photographer Cheryl Bigman.

We've all been there -

  • Booked a professional portrait session for our adorable toddler at their "good" time - check.
  • Bought the perfect outfit - check.
  • Made sure they were all cleaned up, etc... check.

Because we DESPERATELY wanted that perfect shot, right?

 

Then, we watched helplessly as our little angel :

a) Ran away.

b) Had a full on temper tantrum.

OR

c)  Just plain ignored us!

 

In fact, I think toddlers should come with a warning - "Must have infinite patience, a sense of humor, and be in excellent physical shape to photograph me. And... you will need to run... fast!"

 

Seriously, two-year olds are the cutest, but sometimes us parents want SO badly to get that perfect shot for Facebook, Instagram, etc..., that we forget to capture who they truly are at this age. As a professional family photographer here in the San Francisco Bay Area, I've photographed lots of active toddlers, so thought I'd share a few tips to help you out. And scroll down for great examples, and loads of cuteness from sweet Natalie's Two-Year Portrait Session!

 

5 Tips for Photographing Toddlers

  1. Choose a Comfortable Location - Your own home, a favorite local park, or anywhere familiar. If the weather isn't comfortable, take it inside.
  2. Bring Toys - A brand new toy is a great way to hold your toddler's attention! And so fun to catch their excitement and curiosity with something new.
  3. Let them RUN - A good professional photographer knows how to capture them in motion, and they LOVE to run!
  4. Please do NOT do this... "Say Cheeeeeeeeese"! You will get what you asked for - a very "cheesy" smile - maybe :)  Oh ok, one or two cheesy smile pics are cute. But you will love the real smiles and silly expressions you get from just letting them play.
  5. BE PATIENT AND FLEXIBLE - As you know, sometimes it takes awhile for toddlers to warm up. If something isn't working, don't force it. Try something else - a different toy, a new activity, a treat, etc...

 

It's Just a Big Playdate

The more you and your photographer can become kids yourselves, getting down to their level, and just laugh and play, the better your pictures will be. Once a toddler realizes it's just a big play date, not a high-pressure portrait session, they'll relax (and so will you) and have way more fun. You'll get a great variety of looks too!

But toddlers move FAST and their expressions can change in a split second, so it's your photographer's job to be ready to capture anything at any moment!

 

Patience... this was Natalie's serious face which she wore for the first 20 minutes of our session... at her "good" time. Even though it's not a big cheesy smile, I still love her sweet innocent look.

Two Year Portrait of a Little GirlTwo Year Portrait of a Little GirlPortrait of a two-year old toddler girl at Hap Magee Ranch Park in Danville, CA by San Francisco Bay Area family photographer Cheryl Bigman.

 

New toys! Natalie loved playing with her brand new tea party set. Mom brought a comfy blanket for her to sit on.

Two Year Old Tea Party PortraitTwo Year Old Tea Party PortraitPortrait of a two year old girl having a tea party at Hap Magee Ranch Park in Danville, CA. By San Francisco Bay Area family photographer Cheryl Bigman.

 

I asked Natalie if she could make her mom a cup of tea... so cute.

Little Girl Two Year Tea PartyLittle Girl Two Year Tea PartyPortrait of a two year old girl having a tea party at Hap Magee Ranch Park in Danville, CA. By San Francisco Bay Area family photographer Cheryl Bigman.

 

And once the dollies got invited, Natalie was very pleased!

A Little Girl and Her Doll PortraitA Little Girl and Her Doll PortraitPortrait of a two-year old girl playing with her doll at Hap Magee Ranch Park in Danville, CA by San Francisco Bay Area family photographer Cheryl Bigman.

 

Time for a new activity! Headed to the play structure and that's when the real smiles began. This girl is strong!

Two Year Old Girl Just Hanging OutTwo Year Old Girl Just Hanging OutBlack and white portrait of a two-year old girl hanging from a bar at the playground. By San Francisco Bay Area family photographer Cheryl Bigman Photography.

 

Showing off her ninja moves... at two!

Mini Ninja Little Girl PortraitMini Ninja Little Girl PortraitPortrait of a two-year old toddler girl playing ninja at Hap Magee Ranch Park in Danville, CA by San Francisco Bay Area family photographer Cheryl Bigman.

 

And saved the running for last. Brings out the smiles every time!

Two Year Old Girl on the RunTwo Year Old Girl on the RunPortrait of a two-year old toddler girl happily running at Hap Magee Ranch Park in Danville, CA by San Francisco Bay Area family photographer Cheryl Bigman.

 

Do you have any tips for getting great pictures of the littles in your family? Please share in the Comments!

 

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I hope you've found these 5 Tips for Getting Great Photos of your Toddler helpful. If you enjoyed this Blog and you'd like to hear more helpful tips on family portraits and event planning in the San Francisco Bay Area, or just want to follow along on all my crazy photography/travel adventures, simply Subscribe in the box above and the Blog will be delivered right to your inbox. It helps to keep this Blog going and I'd so appreciate it!

 

 

Service Area

Cheryl Bigman Photography services the entire San Francisco Bay Area including the East Bay cities of Lafayette, Orinda, Pleasant Hill, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, and San Ramon in Contra Costa County. Dublin, Pleasanton, Sunol, and Fremont in Alameda County. South Bay cities including San Jose, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Palo Alto, and Mountain View in Santa Clara County, Peninsula cities including San Mateo, Burlingame, Foster City, Menlo Park, Woodside, Atherton, and Redwood City in San Mateo County, San Francisco, and North Bay cities in Marin County including Tiburon, San Rafael, and Sausalito.

 

 


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