Compositions to Consider When Photographing Toddlers

Compositions to Consider When Photographing Toddlers

I’ve decided to do a series of blog posts pertaining to toddlers, this one is about compositions to consider. As most of your visiting my blog are probably aspiring momtographers (that’s a word, I promise), I figured you ladies wouldn’t mind some toddler tips and tricks. The first post I would recommend reading is Photographing a Toddler 101 – it gives you the basics to capturing great images of your toddler!

I wanted to reinforce that the most important thing to consider when photographing toddlers is patience. They do what they want, no matter how badly you want them to sit still and smile! Maybe that’s just not my style – I really love to have candid photos. The sit still and smile at the camera just doesn’t capture the emotion I crave. So if you stick around with me, you’ll learn more about how to photograph toddlers.

If you haven’t already learned about manual mode, it’s essential! Especially when photographing in tricky light and photographing those fast toddlers! I have a new class –  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). It’s not complete yet, but by signing up for updates you’ll be the first to know when it is ready! Plus some early bird pricing (yes, please!).

check out my 5 Tips to Getting Better Pictures of Your Infant post

Compositions to consider when photographing toddlers

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

what is composition

I will briefly introduce you to composition.

Composition in any type of art, is the ingredients that make up something. For music, this is the notes that make up the song. For images, this is the subjects, objects, that make up an image.

There’s a ton of different ways to use compositional elements to make your image stronger and better. I’ll go into more details about all the different types of compositions below and why you should consider using them when photographing a toddler – they definitely add to the image.

  • rule of thirds
  • framing (one of my favorite)
  • scale
  • looking down
  • center
  • faceless

There are even more out there, but these are my favorites for toddlers. Now that we learned a little bit more about what composition is, let’s move on to how and why you should use these compositional elements and what exactly they mean.

compositions to consider when photographing toddlers

Mom Photography tips

1. rule of thirds

For this compositional tool, you have to picture your image split into 9 squares and placing your subject on one of the intersecting lines in the image. Take the image above, for example. My son is place on one of the intersecting lines. This composition is pleasing to the eye. It’s a rule that can be broken, though. Keep that in mind. Knowing the rule, using the rule, and breaking the rule are all important in composition.

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

For this image, since my son isn’t centered between my fridge and my dryer, a center composition wouldn’t have looked as please. With him being frame the way he is, the rule of thirds lends a better composition. It pulls the eye right to your subject, and it doesn’t look awkward.

When I take a picture, I practice with different compositions to see which one would work the best. Rule of thirds is one I use quite a lot of! However, one of my favorite ways to compose an image is ‘framing’ which we’ll talk about next!

Mom Photography tips

2. framing

The compositional rule of framing is exactly what it sounds like: you frame your subject with other objects in the frame. I use this technique a lot. I love it! Once you start looking for frames, you’ll see them everywhere. Trust me. In the image above, my son is framed by not only the door, but the window, as well as the light! Yes, light can be used as ‘framing’. Frames can literally be anything and everything. You can use other people. The side of the frame, doorways, colors, the list goes on. Below my son is ‘framed’ between the door and the wall. I would also say he’s framed by light, as well.

Mom Photography tipsdler

Framing is a great way to compose images of your toddler. It adds interest to your already cute photo. It draws the viewer in. It makes the viewer linger just a little bit. Framing an object is also so easy. Doorways are great, parks have a ton of framing tools to practice with. Architecture is full of frames, too! But there’s even frames in nature. You could frame your child with branches from the tree!

Framing can also appear to be a ‘peaking’ in type of scene. It’s great for sleeping images like the one below!

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

There are many many ways you can frame an object. Go try it out! You could even practice on something that doesn’t move as much as a toddler. In fact, I highly recommend practicing on stuff animals before making your way to your toddler. It’s easier to practice when the subject doesn’t move!!

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

3. scale

This one is great. What I mean by scale, is you take an image to show just how tiny your toddler really is. Like in the image above, you can plainly see just how tiny he is against that wall (he is also framed very nicely by the paneling and bricks!).

Looking at this image you realize just how little and precious this boy is. He’s tiny! The best way to do this is to back it WAY up. (I would recommend having a helper to help in case the baby makes a run for it!). Include the environment in your image. This would be great to do at a beach, show just how tiny they are compared to the big ocean. You could do this at the park, the carnival, showing how little they are compared to the rides. This is a great composition to use on toddlers, because they are in fact, very little.

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

4. looking down

Looking down on your subject is a great way to photograph them. It helps with eye contact and getting beautiful catchlights. It also makes them seem larger than they are (so basically the opposite of scale!) I love using this technique when shooting toddlers. I think it’s very flattering on them. It’s an easy one to do, too! Especially if they aren’t walking yet. Just sit them down and stand (or kneel) slightly above them. Get their attention to have some eye contact and snap away! It’s really that easy. 🙂

This is great to get that eye contact and to also get a little bit closer. Details are so important to capture!

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

5. center

A center composition is a good choice for when there is symmetry. In the image above, my son and husband are ‘framed’ (another composition choice!) between the hallway walls. This pulls the attention straight to the center. Center compositions are probably the easiest composition to pull off, and one you’re probably already doing. Go a step further and really concentrate on what could make a center composition more interesting.

Center composition can be good for when you want to simplify your frame. It also can be a good choice for detail shots. Using leading lines to center your subject can also help strengthen your composition.

Be deliberate when you use center composition. Don’t always have center compositions. And when you do use center compositions, be confidant in your decision!

Mom Photography tips

6. faceless

I think faceless images are perfect for any genre of portraits! But I think it adds a level of mysteriousness to toddler images. Plus toddlers have cute everything (I wish I had cute everything) and those details deserve to be the center of attention, as well.

In conclusion, your toddler is cute so any image you take of them is going to be adorable. But by keeping these compositions in mind while taking images of your toddler (or anything!!) it will help strengthen your photography instantly.

Thanks for stopping by.

21 Perfect Gifts for the Photographer in Your Life

21 Perfect Gifts for the Photographer in Your Life

Holidays are just around the corner. No, literally. I can see them. As I’m getting together my own Christmas list, I started thinking about how sometimes it can be hard to figure out exactly what someone would love. If you know a photographer (let’s say she’s your wife) then this is the perfect list for you. Get anything off of this list and the photographer in your life will be extremely amazed and happy. You want to be able to present your favorite photographer with the perfect gift. That’s why I have put together this list of 20 perfect gifts for the photographer in your life.

need some inspiration? check out my 10 Must Read Photography Books post.

21 Perfect Gifts for the Photographer in Your LifeThis post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

21 Perfect Gifts for the Photographer in Your Life

You really can’t go wrong with anything related to photography. But, let’s get real. There are a ton of things related to photography. Where do you possibly begin? This list of 21 perfect gifts for the photographer in your life is the perfect place to start. You can thank me later when your photographer is grinning from ear to ear.


  1. Mastering Composition: The Definitive Guide for Photographers – You can’t go wrong with a good book. This book is filled with beautiful images and gets you thinking. I own this book and really enjoy looking through it when I am in need of composition guides. I love this book!
  2. ClickinMoms Membership – Since joining ClickinMoms back in 2015, my photography has literally changed for the better! This site is amazing! I also want to say that it’s NOT just for Moms! I wasn’t a mom when I joined. I have also seen many, many dads/men on there as well. So don’t be afraid to get an account just because it says Mom in the name!  It has so much chance for growth and learning. I love the forums, you don’t have to take a class to learn. The forums themselves have many, many tutorials along with beautiful photo shares to help inspire you. And speaking of classes…
  3. ClickinMoms Class – Photographers love to learn. And what’s a better way of learning than a class? I love the full participation option, but the study along seat is just as nice! I highly recommend their Mastering Manual Exposure class or their Foundations of Composition class. Both were excellent first beginner classes.
  4. Coffee & Editing Tshirt –  How cute is this shirt?? Perfect for your favorite photographer. I’m not a coffee drinker, otherwise I’d totally get this shirt! I need one that says Cider & Editing or Hot Cocoa & Editing. Maybe I’ll design one myself sometime!
  5. Camera Necklace – Excuse me while I go purchase this adorable necklace for myself! Talk about cute!! I would totally wear this all. the. time. if I had it! I’m seriously adding this to my Christmas list. So cute!
  6. Macro Extension Tubes – These are perfect for beginner macro photographers. If you’re not sure if you would get into macro and want to try it out, but don’t want to spend a fortune on a lens you won’t use, I recommend these inexpensive macro extension tubes. Also be sure to check out my 3 Tips to Get Started in Macro Photography post. It’s my number 1 pinned post!
  7. Flowers – These are to go along with the macro extension tubes. Because, if you’re anything like me, you’ll want subjects to practice on!
  8. Amazon Gift Card – A lot of the thing I link to on here are from Amazon so why not get an Amazon Gift Card so your photographer can buy whatever she/he wants?!
  9. Camera Strap – I LOVE this camera strap! So comfortable and I have gotten so many compliments about it! I have the blue one with white polka dots. I love it! I want to get the flower one next – so cute! I highly recommend upgrading your camera strap from the standard that Nikon or Canon give you. You look more professional with an updated strap and they’re usually more comfortable. Win-win.
  10. ExpoDisc – An ExpoDisc is a perfect way to help with your white balance troubles. I’ve never actually used one, but I have heard it’s great! It sets your white balance in any situation so that you don’t have to worry about it.
  11. Camera Bag – ShutterBag makes the cutest camera bags! And best yet is that you can pick your color!! If I didn’t already have a fabulous camera bag, I would totally be buying one of these. In fact, I’ll probably start saving up for one of these adorable bags. Bonus, they look like they could fit all of your needs! If you don’t have a camera bag, I expect this to be on your list. They are great for when you want to go anywhere with your camera. And plus, I mean, just look at how cute they are!
  12. Lensbaby Velvet 56 – If I had the money for this I would buy this right now. No joke. I have had my eye on this lens for such a long time! If you are looking for a creativity boost, this is the lens for you. It creates such beautiful bokeh.
  13. Lensbaby Sweet 35 – Again, if you want a cheaper lens to buy, but that still creates beautiful images, the Lensbaby lenses are the way to go! I love the neat effects this lens creates. It has a nice slice of focus that you can use creatively.
  14. Manfrotto Tripod – I’m literally drooling over this Tripod. I have a cheap tripod from Wal-mart. And I’ll be honest, it gets the job done. But man would it be nice to have a nice Tripod like this Manfrotto Tripod! Just look at how professional it looks. If your favorite photographer doesn’t have one, a tripod is a really good gift.
  15. Remote – I love my nifty remote for my camera. It has helped me take so many of my self portraits. It’s great if you want to get in the frame. I also love how small it is, so that it’s easy to hide in your photos. A remote is an inexpensive, yet thoughtful gift for your favorite photographer.
  16. Adobe Creative Cloud Subscription – This is literally the best thing I have ever gotten myself. I love creative cloud. It is so nice to have any and all programs that I need. I love Lightroom, it’s the easiest to learn and use. There is so much you can do with Lightroom. I also love Photoshop for some of my more advanced photo editing. If your photographer doesn’t have the Creative Cloud subscription, this is the perfect gift!
  17. Phone Camera Lens – There are so many camera lenses out there. This is the set that I have and I love. You can read about my experience with them here. They are fun to use and they give you a little more freedom with your phone pictures.
  18. Macro Lens – Macro is a great creative outlet! I love turning to macro when the weather is cold and grey (perfect for winter!). This lens is amazing. It will fulfill all of your macro needs. If you’re new to macro, check out my 3 Tips to Get Started in Macro Photography post. It has great advice for the beginner macro photographer.
  19. Nifty Fifty – This lens is a go to lens. It creates beautifully sharp images. You can read my review for it here. This lens is the perfect lens for a beginner photographer. AND it’s the cheapest lens out there! Perfect for gift giving!
  20. iPad Mini – Every photographer needs an iPad Mini. They are the perfect size and can fit in your camera bag! I have so many apps on my iPad Mini that I use for photography. Apps like Prime and Instagram. Plus it’s fun just to have an iPad Mini. 😉
  21. Cute Mug – Us photographers need our coffee/cider/hot cocoa while we work. What’s a better way than to get them the perfect mug? This mug from Target is oh so cute. I might just get it for myself! I am a mug-a-holic!


I hope this post has inspired you for your Christmas shopping. Christmas is literally right around the corner. Yikes! Get going! A lot of these gifts would be perfect for any mom. But all of these are perfect for the photographer in your life. *hint hint* The holidays are just around the corner!