Dinosaur 2nd Birthday Party

Dinosaur 2nd Birthday Party

My son is turning TWO in July and we celebrated (a little early) by throwing him a Dinosaur Birthday Party! He had a BLAST! July birthdays are so much fun! I failed him last year by not really throwing a party (I mean, he was turning one…) so I wanted to up my game a little bit. Especially since I am about to have another cutie in my life, I wanted to do something special for my son before all attention went to his sister. #sadbuttrue

I got a lot of inspiration off of Pinterest, I’ll be honest! I am not always the most creative when it comes to things like this. But, I had a lot of fun and I made it my own! All of the graphics were made by me and also the birthday banner.

I also made his CAKE! And I am SO PROUD of it!

All of the images you can download at the end of this post, because I’m just that nice. 😉

Dinosaur Birthday Party Ideas

Dinosaur Birthday Food

So I wanted to break everything down in this post for you, and tell you exactly what I did for his party.

The foods and the dinosaur names are as follows:

  • Stego Chips – Tortilla Chips
  • Diplodocus Dip – Salsa
  • Pterodactyl Pizza – Bagel Bites
  • Carnivore Tenders – Chicken Nuggets
  • Herbivore Valley – Fruits and Veggies (and an AWESOME watermelon!)
  • Jurassic Juice – Green Koolaid
  • Dino Droppings – No Bake Cookies
Dinosaur Birthday Party Ideas
Dinosaur Birthday Party Ideas

My awesome, wonderful sister made the stegosaurus watermelon! It turned out SO good! I am super impressed with it! Don’t you think it’s just the cutest?!

Dinosaur Party Favors

I was a little unsure about doing party favors…but I quickly learned that they are a must if you are throwing a party for a toddler! Sometimes the toddlers don’t understand why they can’t open the birthday boy’s presents…and that’s when party favors come in handy!! So, if you are unsure about party favors yourself…DO IT! You’ll thank me later!

Dinosaur Birthday Party Ideas

These adorable little dinosaur bags (and actually ALL of the party favors) were purchased on Amazon (afl. link)!! Amazon was a life savor for me while planning this party!

The rest of the items in the bag are below (all afl. links):

My son actually picked out most of the things we included in the party favor bag! He was especially excited about the dinosaur stickers part! I wanted to stick with something that doesn’t have a lot of sugar for a snack, so that’s why I went with applesauce. They were being loaded up with cake so I didn’t want to give them candy or anything sweet. I was pretty happy with how they turned out! Plus those bags are just too cute.

I made sure to have enough for everyone including the birthday boy, he deserved to have a party favor bag as well!

Dinosaur Crafts

I was pretty excited about the dinosaur craft I had picked out! I totally found this all over pinterest, so I am not claiming this at all! But it thought it was perfect for toddlers, and I was right! This was the perfect dinosaur craft for toddlers!

I got some washable paint that claimed it would wash out of clothing and skin. It worked really well on the skin, nobody got it on their clothes so I’m not sure if it would wash out well or not! But my son loved it! And I just decided to invest in all the fun colors because I knew I could use it for some craft time with my son later on.

Dinosaur Craft at a Birthday Party

So all you do is make a stegosaurus body (you can download my version below, I printed them out on cardstock, cut them out, and glued them to different colored cardstock) and then you use the paint and the children’s hands to make the stegosaurus’s spikes. The kids loved it! Then you make a dinosaur name out of their name. They could pick between adding a ‘saurus’ or a ‘don’ or a ‘t-rex’ to the end of their name. For example, Ethanasaurus, Andrewadon, or Sarahasuarus T-Rex. Super cute, super simple, and SUPER EASY! Win-win-win in my book! Plus they’re super cute, am I right?!

Dinosaur Cake

I found this dinosaur cake on Youtube – the tutorial comes with print outs on exactly how to cut the cake and also instructions. This is a total Pinterest win for me!

I would recommend to do a crumb layer, then freeze it for at least 30 minutes before you put on the final icing layer. That really helped make it look nice and smoother (I’m not an expert cake maker, so if I can do this, so can you!).

Dinosaur Birthday Cake

For the big dots I used the flat Reece’s. Then I used brown M&M’s for the small dots and Hershy Kisses for the spikes. Super yummy and so cute!

Birthday Boy

I’ll probably still write a letter to him, but here’s the birthday boy on the day of his party! I bought him the cutest dinosaur shirt that he absolutely loves! I was looking for one that said ‘two-a-saurus’ or something along those lines, but they were more expensive than I wanted and not quite as cute as I imagined. So I went with this shirt – that way he can wear it for a long time, too!

Free Printables

As promised, here are ALL of the stuff I made and created for his party! In the banner PDF, I included an extra 6 that you can add white letters for your own child’s name. (If they have more than 6 letters in their name, then just repeat some).

I printed these off on white cardstock at a local store. I looked around for which one would print on cardstock for the cheapest! For the stegosaurus body, I bought my own cardstock and printed it on different colored cardstock.

I hope you enjoy these print outs!

10 Tips for Photographing Toddlers

10 Tips for Photographing Toddlers

So, I’m listening to my readers and realizing one very important thing: you all LOVE my toddler posts! And I don’t blame you, it’s the subject I’m probably most verse in since I have a little toddler of my own.

One thing I absolutely love about photographing toddlers is their curiosity to everything. They love to explore and they see the world in such a different way than we do.

So, slow down, observe your toddler, and let expectations go out the window, because the toddler is in charge.

You might also like my other toddler posts:

Along with my toddler posts, I am actually creating a course outlining how to capture your everyday life, which is perfect for toddlers (especially since I only have a toddler, I have a lot of examples with toddlers in it). If you’re interested in learning when this course will launch and just general updates about it and other courses, please subscribe below.

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10 Tips for Photographing Toddlers

10 best tips to photographing toddlers

By following these 10 tips to photographing your toddlers, I believe you will start to see improvement in your pictures with your toddlers.

I also have high hopes that you won’t be frustrated, I know I was at first! My son literally NEVER sat still for pictures and I was pulling my hair out. It doesn’t have to be like that, if you change your expectations and rules for photographing your toddler.

Alright, are you ready to learn the BEST tips for photographing toddlers?? Let’s go!

10 Tips for Photographing Toddlers

1. keep it short

This is so important: keep the photo session short. Whether you are just simply taking pictures of your toddler or if you have a client shoot that involves a toddler, keep it short. You don’t make your toddler sit there for 3 hours to color, do you? Why would you make them sit, stand where they don’t want, do things they’re not used to, for a long time? Keep it short. I find that around 10 mins is a toddlers limit.

I find I get my best images when the toddler is first fascinated by my camera. The beginning of the shoot is the most important. It’s when they’ll be the most willing to sit still.

10 Tips for Photographing Toddlers

2. make it fun

Do you like sitting there, being told what to do, having your mom or dad telling you to smile or laugh? I mean, I think I would have a stink face on if it were me, so why do you expect your toddler to do exactly that? Instead of expecting them to sit still….expect them to run! And let them! Run after them! Chase them! Run around a tree and play ‘peek-a-boo’ with them! If you make it fun, you’ll keep their attention better.

Some more ideas to make a photo session fun:

  • Play tag with them
  • Play peek-a-boo with them
  • Play red light green light (or go and stop)
  • Ask them to make animal noises
  • Ask them to look for a bunny (or their favorite animal)
  • Ask them where mommy or daddy is
  • Tell them to jump
  • Ask them to run around

And these games can work for your own kids or for client kids. For client kids, you want them to get comfortable with you and realize that you are all about having fun!

10 Tips for Photographing Toddlers

3. increase your shutter speed

Kids are fast, like, really fast. So of course when you are photographing kids, you’ll want to increase your shutter speed. A general rule I keep is to always keep my shutter speed around 1/250. This helps eliminate any chance of camera shake (which is a big no-no). However, when I’m photographing toddlers, I like to keep my shutter speed 1/400 or higher. In fact, I really love 1/1600. But sometimes that’s not always an option.

When I know I’m going to photograph my son, I set my shutter speed first. I think about what he’s doing in the moment, is he running around? Then my shutter speed can be a little slower (but never below 1/250). Is he running around? Then I need my shutter speed higher! Do I want to capture motion blur? Then I will of course have a slower shutter speed (maybe even slower than 1/250, but you have to stabilize your arm when you shoot lower than that).

By increasing your shutter speed, you’ll ensure that you get crisp images of your toddler. Every time.

10 Tips for Photographing Toddlers

4. capture them naturally

I never tell my son to say ‘cheese’. Never. Somehow he’s picked this up (probably from other family members). Instead, I try to capture his natural joy. Or maybe his natural tears. I don’t ‘pose’ my son. And I definitely don’t make him sit still for long. If he’s already sitting somewhere, then I will quickly try to capture the shot. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.

By waiting for them to do something naturally, your images will look more professional. You don’t want a force ‘cheese’ smile. And sometimes I get clients who tell their kids to say cheese. I let them say it, and then I usually give the family a prompt that gets them even better smiles (I really try to not make my clients feel like they did something wrong).

I might think of a shot that I’d like to take, set up the scene, and then let my toddler explore the scene. However, I never get the shot that I was thinking of when it comes to toddler shoots. Change your expectations. Don’t force your toddler to do something they won’t like, because that will result in them being fussy and upset and your images will be full of negative emotions (which is definitely sometimes what I’m going for – I love a good cry photo). But don’t expect your images of your toddler to be exactly what you envisioned.

10 Tips for Photographing Toddlers

5. for eye contact: tell them to look for a _____ in your camera

That headline is too long, I just know it. When I’m wanting eye contact, I tell my toddlers to look for an animal, their favorite tv show, a dinosaur, whatever you know they love. Ask them if they can see something in your lens. They will give you some great eye contact then. Of course, I’m not always striving to get eye contact, but sometimes I do want to capture my sons beautiful blue eyes, and this is how I do it.

If that trick doesn’t work, then I usually resort to strange noises. And that usually gets me eye contact with a smile. Which is also great. It really just depends on what I’m going for!

10 Tips for Photographing Toddlers

6. close down your aperture

We talked about the importance of a fast shutter speed above, so let’s talk about your aperture this time. Having a wide open aperture (f/1.4 or f/1.8 depending on your lens) can lead to difficulty getting your subject in focus and in the focus plane. And toddlers move so much, that small sliver of focus doesn’t stay still for long. By closing down your aperture you eliminate the chance of them moving too much to get them in focus. You make it easier to get them in focus and in the focus plane. Leading you to crisp images of your toddler.

I usually like to keep my aperture at f/2.5 or higher. I like to still have bokeh and blurriness to my background, so I keep my aperture somewhat wider open. However, I believe there is a sweet spot for every lens. For my 85mm, I find that I get a lot more images in focus if my aperture is f/3 or higher. For my 24, I find I get a lot more images in focus if my aperture is f/2 or higher. You need to find that sweet spot. I very rarely shoot wide open (meaning as low of an aperture as your lens can go, for my two lenses mentioned above, that would be f/1.4) because I like to have a little bit more of my image in focus. When shooting a face up close, it’s important to close down a little bit more than you normally would because of how many planes a face has. If you don’t close down, the nose could be out of focus.

By getting crisp images of your toddler, you’re ahead of the game! That’s part of the challenge. So, fast shutter speed and closed down aperture, and you’ll be golden.

10 Tips for Photographing Toddlers

7. capture the details

Sometimes my son really doesn’t want pictures taken, especially of his face. And he often looks away from the camera. When this happens, I can usually get some shots of the details. Try focusing on their feet (toddler feet and thighs are the best!). Get a shot without their face. Take a picture of what they’re playing with. Take a picture of their eyelashes. Capture the little details of their curly hair. Take a faceless image.

10 Tips for Photographing Toddlers

8. give them a snack

Give your toddler a snack that isn’t messy (or maybe it is messy, I have this dream shot of an ice cream shot that I will one day be brave enough to capture!). Blueberries, cheerios, something that will look cute photographed but will also be yummy for them to chow down on. This could go hand in hand with getting a detail shot, too. It would be adorable to see their little hands reaching for a snack.

10 Tips for Photographing Toddlers

9. give them an activity to do

I love sticking my son in the high chair and giving him something to do. This helps him sit still and also provides something fun to photograph. Painting, drawing, eating, something that he enjoys will help him be happy. I also love to photograph my son playing with bubbles. He doesn’t care about the camera when there is bubbles. And I mean, what toddler doesn’t love bubbles!!

10 Tips for Photographing Toddlers

10. jump in the photo with them

So, I get it. Getting in the frame can be quite intimidating. But, I promise years down the road you won’t regret getting in the frame with your little ones. Hand the phone or camera to dad and jump in there with them. Don’t worry about it being perfect, the main goal is for you to be in the image with your toddler. Holding them, holding their hands while they walk, playing with them, dancing with them. Endless possibilities.

If you need some tips to get you started in self portraits, I have the blog post for you!

You won’t regret jumping in the photo with your toddlers, I promise!

As always, if you have any questions please leave them below. Tell me in the comments below which tip was your favorite! Thank you for reading my blog and I hope to see you around.

How to Get Eye Contact From a Toddler

How to Get Eye Contact From a Toddler

Getting eye contact from a toddler can be extremely difficult. I want to say one thing first: getting eye contact from a toddler/baby is not my priority. But I do absolutely love eye contact. And they have such sweet expressions when they’re this age. As of the date of this post, my son is 21 months and has started to hate the camera. So much that he’ll purposefully not look at it. These tricks have helped me get some pictures with eye contact.

Are you new to my blog? Welcome! I talk a lot about photographing my toddler, self portraits, how to get better photographs of your kids, and also some blogging tips from a mom to moms. One of my favorite posts I’ve created is Photographing a Toddler 101, if you’re struggling with getting better pictures of your toddler, this is the post for you!

Let’s get started!

Aly Dawn Photography | How to Get Eye Contact From a Toddler

how to get eye contact from a toddler

When I’m photographing my toddler (or any toddler) I keep one very important thing in mind: the toddler is in charge. Haha! Isn’t this how it is in real life? That toddler has a mind of their own, and they will let you know their opinion. Which leads me to my first tip:

Aly Dawn Photography | How to Get Eye Contact From a Toddler

play with them first

If you are wanting to get eye contact from that toddler, you need to make sure that you don’t immediately start pointing a giant camera in their face. Of course that will make them feel uncomfortable and unsure. What I like to do is to play with them first. I won’t even get the camera out at first. (This is especially important if the child is not your own child). With my son, I will set him up in pretty light and start playing with him. Tickles work, peek-a-boo works, something that grabs their attention. Then I’ll pull out my camera. If they are still unsure about me, I will let them see the camera. I’ll take a picture at them and say, ‘Look! It’s you!’ when I show them the picture I just took.

Aly Dawn Photography | How to Get Eye Contact From a Toddler

play peek-a-boo with your camera

I have to say, as an adult I don’t really like a big black thing in my face. So can you really blame a cute little toddler not liking it as well? I like to play peek-a-boo with my camera, meaning I will get my settings all set up, focus my shot, and then pop out from behind the camera yelling peek-a-boo and capture their response. Unfortunately this doesn’t work anymore for my son (he’s learned all my tricks!) but I think you’d definitely be able to get one or two shots from this! You have to be quick and ready, though.

Peek-a-boo will also work with other things, too. I like to use a door sometimes to play peek-a-boo. It gets a good laugh out of the toddler. 🙂

Aly Dawn Photography | How to Get Eye Contact From a Toddler

ask them if they can see something in your camera

That was a long title haha. But ask the sweet toddler if they can see…a bunny, a frog, a rainbow, themselves, in your camera lens. This trick works better for older toddlers (my son doesn’t quite get it yet). But you should get some awesome eye contact (be sure to talk to the toddler a little bit before this and find out what their favorite animal). I did this with my cousin in the above image. I asked her if she could see a rainbow, and that was the image I got. This worked well for her age group (which is three). Younger toddlers might not do this and you’ll have to try something else.

use live view mode

I often switch my camera to the live view mode. This allows me to not need my face right up against the camera the whole time. And remember how having a big black thing in your face isn’t fun? This might help ease the toddler a bit.

Aly Dawn Photography | Cute Toddler in Woods

get someone to help you

It’s always a lot easier to get my son to look towards me (if not at the camera) when his daddy is right behind me talking to me! Like in the image above, my husband was behind me talking to him and got him to look his direction. If I have the camera in my hands, my son will not look at me. I sometimes settle for ‘looking near my camera’. Just as long as I can see those sweet blue eyes. So get some help! If you are a photographer taking pictures for clients, get the mom and dad to help. Or even an older sibling! They may even make the toddler laugh (which is WAY better than a fake smile!!). Having a helper always makes it easier.

Do you need some more help learning photography? Join ClickinMoms forums to get loads of tutorials everyday!

don’t say ‘cheese’

DO not under any circumstance, ask your child to say ‘cheese’. What this teaches your child is to fake smile at you. Which is not what you want. If you’re wanting smile images, think outside the box. Don’t say, ‘*Insert name* look at me! Say cheese! Smile!” instead, you could be a tickle monster and tickle them and then jump back and grab a shot. You could say I see a booger! Or did you just fart!? I mean, seriously. Just because you have a camera in your hand doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any fun! Make it fun and you are sure to get genuine smiles, and awesome eye contact. Have them run around and chase you and capture them running after you.

Aly Dawn Photography | How to get a toddler to look at the camera

use reverse psychology

Use reverse psychology to get the eye contact you want! Instead of saying, ‘look at me! Look at the camera!’ you could say, ‘don’t you dare look at me! Don’t look! Don’t look at the camera! Don’t do it!!’. It might only work once and then they might get smart…but one shot is ALL you need! This only works with my son every once in a while, but I think he’s still a little too young to understand. I think it would work great for kids around three years of age!

Photographing toddlers can be so much fun! Be sure to check out my other blog posts related to toddlers. I hope they help you in your quest to capture cute pictures of your kids and clients!

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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.

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 you’ll need

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

Mom photography tips

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!

Mom Photography Tips

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!

Photographing a Toddler 101

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. 😉

Mom photography tips

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.

Photographing a Toddler 101

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!!

Photographing a toddler

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.