Since becoming a mom I’ve taken my fair share of baby and now toddler photos.  Along the way I’ve picked up tricks that always work without fail to getting your littles attention.  I also hear form everyone “how do you get such good photos of J? My kids don’t sit still!”.  First, J is an active wild kid lol he’s such a busy body and rarely stays still.  I assure you guys, for every 1 photo that works there are 50 that were outtakes.  Toddlers are FAST, you have to be fast and ready too.

Fall is right around the corner and it’s my favourite time for family photos and capturing all the magic of the season.  Whether you’re at the apple orchard, the pumpkin patch or want to capture them in their halloween costumes.  Here are my tips for you….


For J and like most toddlers, anything over 20 minutes and we’ve lost him.  I’m going to use Fall examples here:  Let’s say you’re at the pumpkin patch and want to take a cute photo of your kids.  Let them run around and play while you find the perfect spot for the photo and the perfect pumpkin – don’t make them sit still or scold them for anything, let them have fun.  Maybe you want to set up the pumpkins in a certain way or a if you’re at the apple orchard you want a cute blanket / basket / apple scene – do not make your littles sit there as you set up the apples or pumpkins – let them run around and play and do their thing – you can even get them to help bring apples over or pick the pumping they want etc.

Once you have you’re spot – take a test shot, frame up your photo and get the composition you want.  Then and only then once you’re ready you wrangle up the kids for the photo.


Bag of tricks could be many things, I personally like the good ol’ fail-safe.  The iPhone or iPad.  This one worked GREAT for J’s monthly photos when he was 0-12 Months.  Now that he’s 2 it probably wouldn’t work as well (he’d want the phone to watch whatever it was on there and that would be the end of that).  Games work better with toddlers.  With babies, iPhone / iPad or their favourite toys!

I would hold up my phone or iPad directly above my lens and play a video that always made him smile or laugh or that just got his attention.  I’d be ready and as soon as the part came on that he would smile — snap like a mad woman (or man).  I will say the more people behind the camera the harder it is.   You’d think have 3 adults singing and yelling to get a kids attention would work?  – quite the opposite.  The easiest monthly photos to get were the ones where I asked my mom or Ko to leave the room and it was just me, J and my camera (and iPhone lol).   You can get someone to hold the screen or even a toy above your camera but they shouldn’t talk you behind the camera should be the only one – otherwise you get the most adorable smile and bebe is looking sideways.

If you’re kid loves peekaboo grab his favourite toy and have it pop out behind the camera or iPhone again always ending right above the camera lens not off to the side.


Maybe the most important tip. Now that J is getting older , this is the only way to go about it.  You have to make it into a fun game.  Sing songs, joke, dance around – make it enjoyable!  J loves singing so we turn everything into a song or dance now.  He ends up loving it and having a great time and as long as I’m ready behind the camera to snap those few nano seconds he smiles and looks my way we’re good!

No one (parents included) likes taking photos when everyone is stressed and grumpy.  My rule is if he’s not into it we don’t take it.  I don’t want J to hate the camera – I want it to be fun for him.  Also the second he’s over it I call it quits – whatever we got up to that point will have to work and there’s always 1-2 shots that will work.

Let me give you some practical examples:

The photo of him in the stroller (above) we were all doing a countdown “3 2 1 … Blast off!!” to get him to raise his hands and laugh.  He loved it! It made the entire experience fun and quick – we got the shot right away.  Pick their favourite songs and get everyone to sing and dance along and if you’re behind the camera you just be ready to click that shutter when they look your way.

Another example…

Let’s say your at the apple orchard and you want to get a photo of your littles with a basket of apples – If it was J, I would cheer every time J put an apple in the basket (he loves when everyone says “bravo!” to him) there will be about 2 split seconds he looks at my camera an smiles.  Make it fun and into a game.  The fun candid fun photos are better than the super posed ones anyway! Capture the chaos, let kids be kids, work WITH their wild spirits not against them.

Halloween is also right around the corner (though usually kids LOVE posing in their costumes) – I would toss candy at the kids from behind the camera and do a countdown for when I was going to throw more (its during the countdown you get the shot because they’ll be smiling waiting for the candy) and then you’ll also get great action shots.  If they move around you tell them excitedly ‘quick quickly go there the candy is coming! Ready! ONE…*snap snap snap*…TWO…**snap snap snap*…THREE!!

Remember: Like I said in tip #1 – keep it short – even with these games, though effective, won’t work after the 4th or 5th time – they are usually OVER it.

To recap

Be prepared and ready

Keep it fun (make it into a game)

Bag of tricks (iPhone, iPad, favourite toy)


Happy shooting loves! Hope these quick and easy tips makes taking photos a breeze this fall! Would love to see you’re family photos so send them by way if you use any of these tips so I can see the results.




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