Photography Tips: 5 Best Tips to Photograph Toddlers

Image via Alison Lee

Three years ago, the quality of my photographs of my son were all the same: blurry, unfocused, and taken under poor lighting conditions. The pictures just didn't capture the moment very well. His smile is visible, and we were obviously having fun, but all I can see is how terrible the picture is.

… if you do not wish to invest in a DSLR or the time to learn to use one, you can still take terrific pictures with a simple point-and-shoot, or even with a camera phone.

Children are notoriously difficult to photograph, especially toddlers, as they are newly mobile and do not necessarily listen to instructions or pose as we want them to all the time. You can take a hundred pictures, and only one might turn out passable.

Since then, I've been teaching myself to take better pictures, and I've been lucky enough to own a digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera, which gives me so many more options to improve my photography.

{ MORE: 8 Top Picks of Favorite Books for Toddlers }

However, if you do not wish to invest the money into purchasing a DSLR or the time in learning to use one, you can still take terrific pictures with a simple point-and-shoot, or even with a camera phone. I asked Kimberly Muro, a New Jersey mother of four (soon-to-be-5) and professional photographer, to give us regular non-professionals some tips on how to best photograph our toddlers.

Kimberly says, “When my oldest son was born, I wanted to preserve every moment and every little thing that he did. I wanted to capture the personality that was emerging within him. Once my second son was born, I began to learn the technical side of photography in order to merge that with my artistic vision. My inspiration stems from realizing one's true personality within the frame. I believe that the best moments are captured when you are truly having fun, and enjoying the moment.”

Here are her top 5 tips for photographing toddlers.

Image via Kimberly Muro Photography

Remove distractions

This is a two-way type of tip. First, remove any distractions in the scene for them. If there is anything that can catch their eye and redirect their focus, remove it, turn it off, move it–just get rid of it. Second, if there is any clutter in the frame that doesn't tell part of the story you're trying to capture, remove or hide it.

{ MORE: Touchscreens and Toddlers: New Research All Parents Must Read }

Image via Kimberly Muro Photography

Don't be afraid to play

To avoid the dreaded “cheese” pictures where the child often looks like a deer in the headlights, let them play. This will bring out the most natural and joyous smiles on their faces. Don't be afraid to “hide” behind your camera and then pop your face out with a silly “Peek-A-Boo” to get them giggling. Another tried-and-true trick is to pretend to sneeze. They think it's hilarious and will meet it with a nice natural smile.

Image via Kimberly Muro Photography

Get on their level

To capture the world from their perspective, get down on their level. Get on your hands and knees or lay on your belly to see the world as they see it. Sometimes they will even mimic you and lay down with you, which opens it up for even more photo options.

{ MORE: How to Take Your Own Newborn Photos }

Image via Kimberly Muro Photography

Tell the story

Take a variety of shots to tell the who, what, when, where, why, and how of their activity. Use wide angles to show the where, tight shots to show the what, and detailed shots to display the who and the how. Emotions captured throughout the series of shots taken should explain the why.


Image via Kimberly Muro Photography


Know your child's schedule and moods and use that to your advantage. Understand when they're at their most pleasant and try shooting during that time frame. Be patient and let them guide you through their activities. If you see that things just aren't panning out at that time, know when to step back. There's always another time to try again when you're both calm and stress-free.

{ MORE: Oh Goodness! 3 Weird Things Toddlers Do That Are Perfectly Normal }

What are you waiting for? Grab your camera (or phone) and start shooting!

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Photography Tips: 5 Best Tips to Photograph Toddlers

Alison Lee is a former PR and marketing professional turned work-at-home mother. After a 10-year career in various PR agencies, and of the world’s biggest sports brands, she traded in product launches and world travel, for sippy cups, diapers, and breastfeeding. Alison is a former blogger (Writing, Wishing), and her writing has been featured on Mamalode,On Parenting at The Washington Post,The Huffington Post, Everyday Family, Scary Mommy, Club Mid, She is one of 35 essayists ... More

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