My Toddler Won’t Sit Still for Family Portraits…Help!!!

The holiday season is fast approaching and you’re so excited because your little one is walking, maybe even talking and this is going to be an exciting time of year for everyone! But wait…how in the world are you suppose to schedule your yearly family portraits if your toddler won’t sit still for you, let alone a professional photographer? My first and most important tip…do not go to a malls 15-minute portrait studio. Having worked in one myself, I can tell you that they hire photographers with very little experience and pressure them to funnel clients in and out the door as fast as they can!

My second tip, speak with your photographer before booking with them! It is important that they know how to work with moving toddlers. I will admit that it took me quite a few family portrait sessions to figure out how to get little movers to sit still. First and foremost you have to make it fun! They just got their freedom and want to explore this grand world that we live. Everything is new and ready to be explored.

Before I bought props, I would have those sweet balls of energy run around then fly into their parents’ arms, then tickle them with my “tickler”, thank you to renowned photographer Sandy Puc for providing that tip! I barked, meowed, mooed and did any and everything to get their attention for the few moments they would stay in mom and dad’s arms. Having mom and dad play with them as they do at home, helps kids to loosen up and really have fun during the session.

One day while taking a photo of my very first newborn client….a year later, I found the joy of a rocking horse. Sweet Liam is just about 14 months old and it was some serious work to capture these sweet standing images you see below. After 20 minutes of making a game out of the session, mom, out of breath by this time, pulled out his rocking horse, and a light bulb went off in my head. Of course, if they can’t touch the ground easily, they won’t move, and they are having fun! The key to a successful toddler family portrait session is to put them in or on a prop! Never try and force your toddler into a pose, make them want to smile and laugh and you will always have a successful family session! Simple right! It is still hard work, but it really takes some of the stress and sweat out of a family session for all:)



I am so happy that you're here! My name is Crystal Summer Bear, I am an avid traveler, solopreneur and boutique portrait and wedding photographer. 
I love to share tips, tricks and beautiful stories that connect us all. 
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