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Photographing a Toddler 101

Photographing a Toddler 101

Whether you’re a new mom or an experienced mom, you probably know what I mean when I say: photographing toddlers is hard. Let’s get real for just a second, toddlers are constantly on the move! They never sit still! You can’t tell them to smile, either, they don’t understand it. #beentheredonethat I’m hoping that I can give you some tips to practice with and get better at photographing your toddler. Some of these tips might come in handy for the older ones, but for the most part these tips are strictly for those of you with toddlers.

Don’t forget about my new course coming up: LEARN MANUAL: how to take control of your camera (by clicking on this link and signing up, you’ll get updates on anything new to this course).

gear

Technically speaking, you don’t need any special gear to take better pictures of your kids. Your trusty smart phone will do just fine. But if you’re curious about the type of gear I use to photograph my toddler, than I will fill you in!

My camera is the Nikon D610 – which is a full frame camera and I absolutely love it! My starting camera was the Nikon D5100 (linked is the Nikon D5300 which is really similar, just a newer version) and I would recommend that camera to anyone! I loved it so much. That is the perfect first camera.

My go to lens is the Sigma 24mm 1.4 ART lens. This lens is super sharp and one of my favorites because it allows you to get in close and get details shots, as well as getting environmental shots without being a thousand miles away. Since it’s so wide, my shots might make it look like I am far away from my son, but in reality, I am right next to him, making sure he is safe. I love this lens! I also love just how different each of my shots are when I use it. This lens is also great for indoor, documentary photography (which is great when photographing toddlers!). I really could use just this lens and be 100% ok with my photography.

I just recently got the Sigma 85mm 1.4 lens. This lens is great when you want a nice creamy background. I have yet to really give this lens a good review, but it’s growing on me! The downside to this lens and photographing children is that you have to be pretty far away from the child. When I use this lens, I always make sure I have a helper. One that can be fairly close to the child, but out of my frame, just in case. It’s very important to make sure the child is safe. Safety first, mamas!

And that’s pretty much it for my gear list. I like to keep it somewhat simple. Again, I could literally just use my Nikon D610 paired with the Sigma 24 all day everyday and be 100% ok with that. Find a lens that works for you and rock it! And also, smart phones work just as well. Iphones have great cameras! If I had an iphone I’m sure I’d be using it wayyyyy more. Just practice, practice, practice! That goes for any camera!

check out my Compositions to Consider When Photographing a Toddler post

Photographing a Toddler 101

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

photographing toddlers is easy peasy

Ok, kind of.

I feel like when you follow these tips, photographing toddlers is easy peasy. But, for me, it hasn’t always been easy!

I’m a mom to a one year old (as of this post date!) so photographing toddlers is fairly new to me. It took me a while to understand how to photograph a toddler. And I will be honest with you, it took a lot of patience and practice. And even now, I am no expert. But I now enjoy the images I get of my son.

The number one thing I can offer you is patience. You have to be patient with your child. Don’t get mad at them! Don’t get discouraged! They are, after all, only toddlers. 😉

my tips to photographing toddlers

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1. plans change, you can’t expect to get that perfect shot

If you’re like me at all, you probably plan out your photos a little. You probably have some sort of ‘vision’ that you want to capture. When photographing toddlers, it’s ok to have a vision, but remember, anything can change. You might have a vision of capturing a smiling toddler running towards you, when what you get is a cranky, crying mess who won’t move a muscle. Or who just wants you to hold them. Plans change. And that’s ok. The toddler is ‘in charge’ so to speak, when it comes to photography plans. Just remember to be patient!

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2. make it fun

Toddlers love fun. It’s like it’s a part of them. And they’re so cute about it, too! So, remember to make taking pictures of them fun. Don’t always make them sit and be still to get a beautiful portrait of them. They love to move and run – so let them. Pull out some bubbles and photograph the magic that happens (trust me, it’s magic). Let them run around the yard and run around with them. You’ll have fun, and they’ll have fun. Win-win in my book!

Also, making funny noises is probably my favorite trick for photographing toddlers. My son loves it when I make silly noises at him! He’ll make them right back and give me some really funny smiles!

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3. capture the everyday moments

Yes, getting pictures where your subject is looking at the camera is fun and important, but try to take a picture with some part of the environment in it. Take a picture of something your toddler does everyday.

Maybe nap time – try to take a picture of them sleeping! Do they always eat breakfast in their high chair? Photograph it (plus they are confined, high chairs are PERFECT for getting some of those portraits you really want…as are swings!). The everyday moments can really be quite beautiful, if you let them!

Capturing images with any older siblings is also a fun way to capture the everyday moments. I only have one child, but maybe in a few years I can come back and update this post to include a picture with siblings. 😉

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4. look for light – but don’t let it hinder you

You should look for beautiful light in all of your images, but remember one thing: life doesn’t always happen in beautiful light. There have been countless times where my son has done something extremely funny and cute when it’s dark and there’s not good light. I take the picture anyways. Because down the road, the moment will mean more to me than the light.

That being said, you should look for the light whenever you can! Photography is all about the light. Remember that! When there’s good light, there’s usually a good photograph waiting to be made.

Try to persuade your child to play in the pretty light. And then wait for that special moment to happen.

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5. have a helper

When you are photographing your toddler and you might need to be far away (for example, in the image above I was pretty far away because I had my Sigma 85 lens on) be sure you have a helper who will stay near the baby, just in case something were to go amiss.

In almost all of my outdoor images, I always have my trusty helper, my husband! He’s always there to keep my son in a safe place (my son loves to wander off). Plus having a helper will help you not lose your cool when the little one doesn’t behave. Because they very rarely actually behave!!

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6. put the camera down

Get your shots in, have your fun, then put the camera away and enjoy the fun with your family! Your toddler doesn’t always want to remember a camera in their face. And your husband probably doesn’t want to be the only one providing entertainment to your toddler! So, remember to put that camera down and enjoy family time! You won’t regret it. It will be worth it (just make sure you get the shots you want before you put the camera down!).

photographing toddlers 101

Would you be interested in a full on course of photographing toddlers/children? Let me know in the comments below! I am trying to think of some new class ideas. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by.

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Letters to My Little One | One Year Old

Letters to My Little One | One Year Old

Thursday, July 12, 2018

To my little peanut,

You’re a toddler now. Officially a toddler. I am so amazed at how quickly this first year went. It’s already been a year. This time last year, I was enjoying snuggling with you. Learning how to be a mom. Learning how to breastfeed you. Learning how to comfort you. Learning, learning, learning. And I will continue to learn from you. You have taught me so much over this past year.

You’ve taught me all about patience. I considered myself to be a patient person before, but there were so many things I need to be patient with for you. The first thing I had to be patient with was when you decided to come to this world. I waited till my due date. I knew that being induced early wasn’t the best option for you, so I waited. And then when my due date came and went, I had to be patient. I wanted you to come on your own. You made me wait almost two full weeks! But you taught me that the best things in life come with patience and love. You were worth the wait! After that you taught me to be patient when learning new things, like breastfeeding. I am thankful that it didn’t take a long time to learn how to breastfeed, but it was something I had to learn and be patient with. Now we are both pros at it and I still love it. We made it a full year of breastfeeding!

You’ve taught me how to love more. I didn’t think it was possible. My heart has grown 10 sizes since having you. When I first saw you, I couldn’t believe you were mine. You helped me love your father on a whole new level. Bringing a baby into this world made us even closer. You show love to others that I wouldn’t expect. You help me love others because of this.

You’ve taught me how to multitask! Seriously, try cooking with a baby. Try editing pictures with a baby. Try writing in your journal with a baby. And this all comes back to patience.

You’ve taught me how to snuggle better. This past month you have become quite the snuggler! Especially with your daddy, which is always so cute when you show love to him. Side note, the other day (your birthday) daddy came home and you ran to him and he picked you up and you just snuggled him so much. You also gave him a few kisses. It literally made me so happy! You have such a big heart, my son.

I never expected to learn so much from you. I was fully prepared to teach you all about this life. But, I am slowly learning, that it’s a two way street. You teach me, while I teach you. And that’s how it should be. We’ll learn how to be a mother-son duo in no time.

Happiest of birthdays, my son. One year looks really good on you!

I love you so much!

Love, mommy

read month 1 here
read month 2 here
read month 3 here
read month 4 here
read month 5 here
read month 6 here
read month 7 here
read month 8 here
read month 9 here
read month 10 here
read month 11 here

Letters to My Little One | 11 Month Old

Letters to My Little One | 11 Month Old

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

To my little peanut,

This month was so exciting to watch you grow and learn new things. You have mastered the art of walking. You walk everywhere and you love it. I can see how proud you are of yourself when you walk. I love how you dangle your arms in the air and wave them around as you walk. It’s literally the cutest thing ever and I don’t want to forget you ever did it. You have also mastered the art of standing up from sitting down. Now you can get around anywhere. You still fall down…but you always get back up again. You get stronger every week! Pretty soon you will run circles around me…alright it might take awhile, but we’ll get there eventually.

You are finally starting to eat solid food. Right now you LOVE avocado. You could eat avocado all day long if I let you! You also love peanut butter. I find mixing oatmeal, water, and peanut butter together is one of your favorite treats. You’re definitely my son! Peanut butter is yummy! You have ventured off and now will eat banana, strawberries, sweet potato, crackers, and basically anything mom is eating (even if you’re not supposed to have it yet!). I can’t wait to give you cake next month for your birthday! You’ll love it. Trust me. I might love it a little too much!

You love to laugh. Seriously. You laugh at almost everything. And when we find something that makes you laugh, we do it over and over and over again so that we can see you laugh. Your laugh makes us laugh. We love it. And your smile is so handsome. I love making you smile and laugh. I do the silliest things, but I don’t care if I look stupid! You love it and so I will look stupid. Because, I mean, cute laughs. 😉

I recently purchased these spiky balls from Amazon and it was the best $12 I’ve spent since you were born. You love picking them up and throwing two at a time. You run around picking them up and throwing them, over and over again. You also love to throw them at us, and have us throw them back to you. You are starting to learn how to catch them, but that’s a work in progress. You just love to have fun. It’s adorable.

You love books! You will go pick one up and bring it to us. Then you’ll try to climb into our lap and point at the book and say ‘da’, as if saying, ‘come on! Read it!’. It’s really quite cute. I love how much you love reading. You will also sit there and look at books all on your own. Surprisingly, you’re pretty good with your books. You haven’t ripped any…yet. I hope you always treat your books with respect.

You still love your daddy. Which is fitting since father’s day is on Sunday! You could spend all day every day with your dad. You reach for him when he gets home. You play ball with him every day. You prefer dad to read you books over me. If dad is home, you prefer him. That is until you get hungry, of course. Then you want mom. But I am really not hurt about this at all, I love how much you love your daddy and want to spend time with him. It makes my little mommy heart so happy. I hope you will always love your daddy this much!

You love to dance! If there’s a good beat on, you are dancing. And it’s awesome. You don’t dance to every song, just the good ones. 😉 You sit there and just bounce your knees slightly, all while smiling and flailing your arms. So. Cute.

I am still in shock that I will have a one year old next month. How has it been a year since we welcomed you into this world? This time last year I was getting so excited (and to be honest, a little anxious) about your big debut! I wanted to meet you so bad! I wanted to see what you looked like so bad! I wanted to know if you had hair (and boy, did you have hair). I can’t imagine my life without you. You made me realize my purpose. I was meant to be your mom. I know I was. I’m so glad you were my first born. I’m so glad I got such a sweet and kind son. I’m so proud of you, my little one. You are amazing. You teach me so much every day. You bring joy into my life. You make me laugh and smile every day. I’m torn between you staying my baby (this is the last month that you’ll be considered a ‘baby’) and growing up to a toddler. They really don’t lie when they say the time goes by too quickly. I cherish the snuggles I get because I know one day, you won’t want them. But I will always want them!

You’ll always be my baby. Happy last month of babyhood.

I love you so much!

Love, mommy

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read month 1 here
read month 2 here
read month 3 here
read month 4 here
read month 5 here
read month 6 here
read month 7 here
read month 8 here
read month 9 here
read month 10 here

A Fairy Tale Newborn {Indiana Newborn Photographers}

A Fairy Tale Newborn {Indiana Newborn Photographers}

I was so excited about this session because this newborn was my first girl newborn! And she was absolutely perfect! Her sweet nursery was so cute and charming. Just like a fairy tale.  I loved how girly and fun it was. And it was pink! SO cute!

If you have any questions about how much these sessions are, please check out my investment page. And of course, if you don’t find what you are looking for, contact me and we can work something out.

Alright, here we go! The lovely fairy tale newborn session (Indiana Newborn Photographer).

Their nursery was straight out of a fairy tale!

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This family of four was so sweet and so welcoming. They made my job easy. Big brother was the cutest ever and mom and dad were so in love with their family. I loved it!

Newborn lifestyle sessions will always be a favorite of mine.

Thanks so much for looking. <3

A Boy and His Smile

A Boy and His Smile

So I’ve been having a little bit of a blogging rut. I am still actively shooting and taking pictures. I am even taking on some clients. But blogging has taken a backseat and I hope to get back at it again very soon. I tell myself that it is good to give yourself a break. It’s good to take a break from the gym every once and a while (I have to remind my husband about this all the time – he’s a gym-a-holic). It’s good to take a break from your photography – it helps you really understand why you are taking pictures, what drives your art, and what really inspires you. Sometimes I take a break because I am literally not inspired. By anything. And that’s ok! So, of course, it’s good to take a break from blogging. I suppose it’s similar to writer’s block – I literally couldn’t think of anything to write.

So on to the purpose of this post – my smiley son! He now has eight teeth! It all happened so fast, but he is very quickly maturing into toddlerhood. And I’m desperately trying to hold on for dear life. How on earth did my newborn baby turn into a toddler? I wasn’t prepared for that. I know he’s technically not a toddler until he’s a year old…but he’s practically there. I can’t take it! But at the same time (talk about hormones and emotions, geez) I am so proud of everything he accomplishes. From walking to talking to clapping to eating, I’m proud of him. And I hope I will always be proud of him. He makes being a parent fun. I love being his momma.

So, anyways, he has eight teeth now. And what does he do most days? Smile. He smiles! He loves to smile. He smiles when he’s proud of himself. He smiles when he claps. He smiles when he walks to you. He smiles when he hears a good beat (that’s my boy!). He’s my smiley boy. And I couldn’t be more in love.

He brings me such great joy. I love him!

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I love this little boy of mine and I love capturing the memories we make together. Thank you for swinging by.

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