5 Tips for Keeping Toddlers in a Good Mood During Family Photo Sessions

Offering professional family photography services is a great way to diversify your photography business’s offerings and tap into a new target audience. However, taking photos of families with toddlers comes with a unique set of challenges that can make the task tough to tackle. Not all young children are fond of the idea of spending a few hours dressing up and posing for the camera, and what’s supposed to be a fun experience can turn into an ordeal. If a toddler isn’t having a good time, they’ll make sure to let people know it by acting out, possibly placing the entire photoshoot on hold.

toddler photo session

As a professional photographer, one of your responsibilities is making sure that the people you’re taking photographs of feel good during the photoshoot. Thus, when working with toddlers, you must exercise patience to ensure that they feel happy, comfortable, and safe during the entire session. If they have a positive experience under your care, they can enjoy the process and feel confident when posing for the camera. Happy toddlers also give you plenty of opportunities to capture authentic images of the family.

Whether you’re taking pictures in a rented Manchester photography studio or the client’s home, here are a few tips for keeping toddlers in a good mood during family photo sessions:

toddler photo session

Give Them a Comfortable Place to Sit

Giving kids a comfortable place to sit during family photo sessions ensures that you’re creating a more relaxed and enjoyable environment for them. This can significantly contribute to their overall mood, leading to better cooperation and more natural-looking photos. Consider bringing portable chairs specifically designed for toddlers during your photo sessions. These chairs often come with padded seats and backrests to provide toddlers with extra comfort and support. Some even have fun and cute designs that kids love.

You can also place cushions or soft blankets on the ground for toddlers to sit on. This way, they have a cosy and familiar surface where they can relax. If the photo session is outdoors, look for a shaded area to prevent toddlers from getting too hot or uncomfortable in direct sunlight. A comfortable seating spot away from harsh sunlight will help them stay relaxed and happy.

Make Sure They’re Fed and Well-Rested Before the Photo Shoot         

Ensuring that toddlers are well-fed and well-rested before the photo shoot is essential for maintaining their good mood and cooperation. Hungry or tired toddlers are more likely to become cranky and uncooperative, making it challenging to take pictures. That’s why it’s a good idea to schedule the photo shoot at a time when toddlers are typically well-rested and fed. Ask the parents when’s the best time to take family photos with their little ones and work from there. If needed, allow toddlers to take a nap or rest before and in the middle of the photo shoot to ensure they’re refreshed and energised.

It's also a good idea to bring healthy snacks and offer them to toddlers before the photo shoot, as it can help keep their hunger at bay. Opt for snacks that are easy to eat and not too messy, such as fruit slices, crackers, or cheese sticks. Avoid bringing sugary treats because they can lead to energy crashes and mood swings.

Follow Their Lead                                          

One of the keys to keeping toddlers in a good mood during family photo sessions is to follow their lead and allow them to express themselves naturally. Toddlers thrive when they feel empowered and in control of their environment. Thus, giving them the freedom can lead to more relaxed and authentic photos.

Take the time to observe toddlers' behaviours and interests during the session. Engage with them based on their cues and interests, whether it's playing with a favourite toy or exploring the surroundings. Also, keep in mind that toddlers usually have their own ideas about how they want to pose or interact during the session. So, be open to their suggestions and go with the flow. After all, the best photos can come from candid moments when toddlers are simply being themselves.

Finally, respect toddlers' boundaries and comfort levels throughout the session. If they seem hesitant or overwhelmed, give them space and time to regroup before continuing with the photo shoot. This way, you can create a positive and enjoyable experience for them.

Enlist Help from Family Members

Engaging the help of family members can significantly contribute to keeping toddlers in a good mood during family photo sessions. Having familiar faces nearby can provide comfort and reassurance to children, making them feel more relaxed and at ease during the session. Encourage parents to interact with their toddlers, providing comfort and support as needed You can also assign specific roles to family members to help manage and entertain toddlers during the session. This could include someone responsible for holding props, another person tasked with making funny faces to elicit smiles, and so on. With the support of their loved ones, toddlers are more likely to feel comfortable and happy, resulting in better-quality photos for the family to cherish.

Keep the Photo Session Flowing

Maintaining a smooth and continuous flow during the photo session is essential for keeping toddlers engaged and in a good mood. Long breaks or periods of inactivity can lead to boredom and restlessness, making it challenging to recapture a child’s attention. That’s why you must plan the photo session itinerary in advance to ensure a well-organised and efficient schedule. You should also work quickly and efficiently to capture the desired shots while maintaining quality and attention to detail.


Ensuring that toddlers remain in a good mood during family photo sessions is key to capturing beautiful and meaningful moments that will be cherished for years to come. Implement these tips during family photo shoots, so you can create a positive and enjoyable experience for toddlers and their families.

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