How to Photograph Toddlers at Home

During my free time in my busy schedule, I enjoy picking up my camera to capture moments in my life of my family. I believe this is part of the journey of creating memories.

I am passionate about creating memories and capturing them, that’s why I’ve put together a few tips that will help you to not only build memories but keeping them forever.

girl dancing in front of a window

When taking pictures of your little ones at home, I suggest to follow some basic tips:

Play with natural light

  • You want to ensure you first have the right lighting and camera settings, you don't want to have beautiful smiles and horrible light. Lighting will always need to be something you plan on first.
  • Early morning (before 10:00 a.m.) or late afternoon during golden hour (5:00 - 6 p.m.) are great for natural shots. The golden hour may change depending on the season, so make sure to check sunset times and plan an hour or two before sunset.
  • See at what time of the day your home has the greater natural light coming in.

Pay attention to composition

  • Look for different angles, up close, from far, over their shoulder, from a side. Make sure you change up your perspective. This can be as simple as laying down with a child on the ground and seeing the world from their perspective. Or getting up high to take a birds-eye view of a toddler engrossed with their toys on the floor.
  • "Get on their Level". When photographing children and babies don’t just shoot from your height, kneel down so that you become the same height as your child.
  • Look out for neutral colors and avoid background with too much clutter.

girl watching tv at home

Engage and get them entertained

  • You need to get your child's attention by starting some conversation with them first. Chat with them and engage before going right into taking pictures. When the time is right you can start taking some pictures.
  • Once you have their attention start asking silly questions like "Is there an Elephant on my head?" or "does your Mom wear diapers"? These silly questions will get them looking at you and make them smile or laugh but also get them comfortable and it will allow you to get a more natural smile.
  • You can also try to tickle them just make sure to make them smile naturally. Avoid “say cheese” as that will ruin the spontaneity.
  • Spot them playing alone or give them something to play with like a tea set or watercolor. I tend to have my camera prepared and when I spot them playing on their own I come in and take many pictures without them even noticing I am in the room.
  • Often they are watching TV and laugh at the cartoon they are watching, you can get down below or from the side to capture them.
  • You can also suggest them to do things, consider things like: “Can you read me your favorite book?” “Can you show me how you twirl or dance?”
  • If you are at home but in your patio try to have them run while looking at the camera as if it were a competition for a big price or have them blow bubbles.
  • If they are not up for pictures at all, get them something sweet to eat like a donut, ice cream or lollipop, they will probably make a big mess but give you the best smiles.

girl with a funny face


home photograhpy

Don’t be afraid to take lots of images. The beauty of digital photography is that you can take tons of pictures and then pick those that you really liked.

See all Ana’s amazing shots on Instagram @anazapataphotography.