How to take photos of an energetic toddler

Since Daisy has started being an energetic toddler and a lot more active, I’ve found it noticeably harder to take photos of her. The majority of what I snap ends up being the back of her head or a blurred picture of her as she’s running towards me. It’s so much easier to take photos of your child when they just don’t bloody move.  As a photographer I often have to take photos of other people’s energetic toddler and so over the years I’ve created my own little ‘routine’ or little ‘tricks’ that help me to make sure I get nice photos whilst they’re on the run!

Play with props

Props are always a good idea. Not only do they look cute but they work wonders at distracting them into having their photo taken. I will quite often give Daisy a pair of sunglasses or a funny hat and ask her to pop them on and say ‘cheese’. The downside to this is that they are usually ‘funny’ or ‘fun’ photos where the toddler is dressed up in a ridiculous hat or sunglasses that are ten sizes too big! But that’s the fun of photography. I will also try and snap just before putting the sunglasses/hat/prop on to try and get a few natural ones.

Be prepared to run

Toddlers like to run in all different directions – I think that’s a well known fact. I’ve found that their favourite direction to run is away from the camera. It’s almost like they are making you work for it. I try to run ahead of where I know my toddler will run. I will run/walk backwards and attempt to get some photos of them as they are coming towards me. The key is to just try and keep up! It’s safe to say that I will always come away from a shoot feeling pretty knackered.

Get down to their level

If you’re forever taking photos from above or from standing position then you’re going to get a big bulk of photos that just don’t look great. Bend down and get to the same level as them. Not only does it make it easier to get nice photos but they are more likely to respond to what you are saying if you’re at their same height. If you’re out on location ask them to look at the leaves on the ground or find some interesting stones/conkers/something that will get them to stand still for a minute so you can get snap happy.

A little bribery doesn’t hurt

I find this a lot with my daughter! If I want to get a nice photo and she just won’t cooperate then I bribe her with a bit of chocolate or some sweets. Sometimes when they look super cute and just won’t cooperate then it has to be done. I’d love to know any of your own tips for getting your child to cooperate when having their photo taken?


  • Helena says:

    Thank you for sharing your tips. My eldest loves to grab the camera and be the photographer! #mmbc

  • Katy - Hot Pink Wellingtons says:

    Great tips! Props don’t work with my son sadly, but the running definitely does! And he’s finally getting to the stage where he understands the concept of bribery – I can feel my photos improving already!

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