Tips for photographing toddlers (and small children)

I am pretty sure I have photographed my children every day since they were born. Well, almost every day. 

If your child is anything like mine they are constantly in motion. I have lots of blurry photos, lots of pictures of the back of my child's head and lots of pictures of him crying because I made him sit still. 

And while I am NOT a professional photographer and have no desire to photograph anyone other than my family I have picked up a few tricks for photographing a toddler or young child.  

1. Get on your child's level. 

My friend, Candi, owns her own studio. She has taken a lot of our family photos and I have seen her flat out lay down on the ground to snap a photo. 

So one thing I have learned is to get low to the ground, on my child's level. That way when he is climbing a tree or about to slide down his slide I am at the ready to snap a great photo. 

2. Be an observer. 

Sometimes my boys just starts playing so I start snapping. At it makes for the best memories. I will always remember the day he played with the empty box for a whole hour and I have about 45 photos of him climbing in and out of that box. 

3. Don't photograph a tired child (or do)

The photo above was taken at Easter. This photo is a disaster for many reasons (although I still love it) I am HUGLEY pregnant, and Ryals was so tired he just didn't want to have his picture taken. Trying to get him to be still was like torture for a little guy.

4. Give them something to look at. 

If I am intentionally photographing Ry I will try to give him things to look at. Him looking directly at the camera is cute, but it's not very realistic. I might point to a bird, a tractor, an airplane or an animal and have him focus his attention there for a second while I snap his photo. 

5. Take more photos than you think you need. 

This was actually a bit of advice given to me during my days as a news reporter. Take more photos than you think you need. You will get back home and plug in your SD card and realize your photos are blurry, or you missed the shot you wanted. 

So just keep snapping away. 

6. Remember they're not models. 

I have so many pictures of my child with a dirty face, stained clothes, mud on his fingers. But that is life. I love the photos of him when he is active and silly and not posed and just being Ry. He isn't a model. He is a real child and we have captured a lot of real moments that are precious.