There’s something special about the toddler years. Your little one is walking and (maybe) talking and looking too cute for words—so it’s only natural that you’re eager to capture it all with some adorable toddler pics. Of course, that’s often easier said than done. But before you farm the job out to a professional, know that toddler photography is totally something you can master.
“As a mother of four children myself, I believe a parent can be the most effective storyteller and photographer of our children’s everyday life,” says Ginger Unzueta, a professional family photographer who was featured in the #Nikon100 rising star campaign. “As a parent you have the advantage of knowing your children in an intimate and beautiful way. You have the ability to create authentic images filled with true emotion and expression.”
While you may know your kids best, you may not know how to get the best photos of them. Which is why we tapped Unzueta and Nicole Houser, another rising photography star, to share their top tips for how to capture adorable toddler photos.
1. Go for Candids
As parents of toddlers know all too well, it’s next to impossible to get the kids to sit still. Skip the poses and canned smiles and opt for toddler pictures that are more in-the-moment snapshots. “Kids don’t want to be posed or told to do certain things, and I don’t want to capture them in that way either. I want to capture them as they are, doing what they love—and that tends to be playing outside or doing activities they enjoy, where I’m not asking them to smile or look at me,” says TK. “I find capturing them naturally in their environment produces raw images with real emotion.”
2. Engage Your Kids to Get Great Expressions
Candid toddler pics are super-cute, but you still want to capture those perfect, adorable grins. “Engaging your toddler is a great way to get authentic expressions,” Unzueta says. “Talk to them, ask them questions and watch their personalities shine through.”
3. Style Your Kids in Solids
If you know you want to take a bunch of photos of your toddler on a certain day, give some thought to your little one’s clothes. As Houser says, “Outfits are super-important for the overall aesthetics of an image!” Her advice is to stick with plain, solid colored clothing without writing or graphics. If you do pick something patterned, go for plaid or stripes, and keep it to a single article of clothing—so if your kiddo is in plaid shorts, pair it with a solid top. Bold or pastel colors work best, but stay away from neon colors. “They don’t photograph well and can cause unwanted color casts on your child’s skin,” Houser warns. Also consider where you’ll be taking the photos and what colors will…
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