Taking Pics with Tots

Have you photographed a toddler lately?

Look left and WHEW!!!!

and they are gone!

I’m sure you can agree dear “Mom” when reviewing your blurry cellphone snaps with your got-to-keep-moving little one.

It can be hard to capture genuine images of your child. At this age we have come to understand what a camera is, our “cheesy” smile ( That forced one that shows all their between the brow and nose furrows) is now a standard reaction, and sometimes staying still for a quick snapshot is an impossible task that results in a dreaded meltdown.

Here at Ray Davis Photography, we have seen our fair share of meltdowns and chased down quite a few tots during our child photography sessions in Lexington, KY and Louisville, KY.

I have put together 5 tips, to help you out for those at home lifestyle pics whether your using your cellphone or your DSLR. After all your best camera “is the one you have with you.” Each memory is precious no matter what it is captured on.


Tip #1 – Have an Arsenal Ready

Ray Davis Photography - Child Portrait with Toy

Have you ever been at the park wanting to get some cute shots of your toddler in their new outfit for an instagram post, but their mind is on running away to playground equipment or exploring new areas? I personally use the Bait technique. I’m sure by now you have utilized this technique constantly. Grab your “mom bag” and pull out a favorite toy or a simple accessory. Got nothing in the bag, pick a flower nearby. You can reel them back to you using these as “bait“. If they are far enough away you can catch a few shots as they make their way toward you. My favorite is to catch them afterwards interacting with the “bait“.  The shot above is a perfect example of one of those scenarios.

Tip #2 – Come on and Get Low

Ray Davis Photography Child Portrait

Yes, I do prefer that high camera angle like everyone else in their selfies. But for child portraits with your kids, getting down on their level is a must. That might mean some extra squat training, dear mom, but I assure you it is worth it. I’ve been know to lay on my belly for creative and beautiful portraits with kids and children. It creates a more friendly and organic feel to their pictures.

Tip #3 – Let them Play

Ray Davis Photography - Children Photography of Twins

Nothing creates a bad situation real quick than removing them from their current obsession – be that gold fish crackers or their favorite toy or exploring the area. Chasing them around with a camera/phone and trying to control their actions can create forced smiles and tantrums.  Instead let them have their space. You can create gorgeous images with their attention distracted as they play with their most beloved possessions or discover new places.


Tip #4 – Be Prepared

Ray Davis Photography - Mother and son photography playing in the park

If you have a DSLR, use the right mode on your camera to capture those quick little cupcakes. Make sure your Shutter speed is fairly high – over 1/250 at least This will stop them in action, if you still see any blur because you are raising “The Flash”, just keep raising your shutter speed. If you have a reqular point in shoot switching to the “running man” sport mode can be helpful as well.

Tip #5 – Relax, Chill, and Play

Ray Davis Photography - mother and son photography portrait

Your ideal shot may be an impossible task when it comes to getting your toddler to cooperate. So just let it go – relax. You might not get that perfect shot, but your child wants to play and interact with you ( not always your camera). So come from behind your lens and play for a bit, let the shots you do capture happen naturally instead of forced. Those images, I guarantee will be the best ones and the ones you will treasure for many years to come.

Happy Snapping!

<3,  Ray

P.S. Dear Mom, please remember to hop in for a few shots with your tots. It is important for you to exist in photographs – not just for you, but for your children. I love capturing memories with your kids from child portraits to tween and senior pictures, but don’t leave yourself out. Make sure to schedule a family photography session at least once a year as these childhood stages of life go fast. Ray Davis Photography serves the central, KY area including Louisville, Lexington, and Richmond.