When I had my first baby, I must have taken 100 photos a day! I could do nothing but stare at his perfect face and watch his every move. Every photo looked exactly the same because babies don’t really do much. As my kids grew, I looked for knew ways to get photos of them that really showcased their personalities. Making photography more intentional, rather than taking hundreds of photos a day, will give you better photos. It’s fun to get family photos taken by a professional, but these simple photo shoot ideas for babies and toddlers will give you a chance to get gorgeous photos any time you want.
No one can take better photos of your kids than you can.
- You know them inside and out.
- You know what makes them, them.
- You know what makes their childhood special and how to capture the essence of their life. Kids photography can be exciting and a bit intimidating.
These easy photoshoot ideas of babies and toddlers will help you get unique images you love!
Doing your own family photo shoot does not require you to have a fancy camera or any expertise with photography, but let me give you a few little pointers before diving into the photoshoot ideas.
- If you have a DSLR take some time to learn your settings so you have complete control of your camera. This will make a huge impact on how your photos turn out. If you’re not sure where to start, I’d love to help you. This free class, Manual Mode Made Simple will teach you what you need to know to get started.
- Keep it lighthearted and fun. As soon as you get frustrated or put any pressure on your kids, they will lose interest and your photos will show it.
- Find light. Whether you take your photos inside or outside, you need good, natural light. Look for large windows and soft light for perfect looking skin. Learn more about using natural light with this article.
Ok, you’re ready! Let’s go through 21 super easy photo shoot ideas for babies and toddlers.
Kids love bubbles! There’s just something about bubbles that make for magical photos. All you need is an inexpensive bubble machine and a couple cute kids. Take your kids outside and let them play naturally with the bubbles as you take photos. If you want the best sunlight, go out an hour before sunset and put the sun behind your kids as you take photos.
This is one of my favorites! Maybe it’s because I have a little girl who wants to do nothing but be a princess, live in a castle, and have tea parties. I never dreamed I would have such a girlie little girl, but I have to tell you it’s super fun. It’s the best when her brothers will join in the tea party with her. For this photo shoot let your little ones get dressed up, maybe get out your shoes for her, and set up a place for a tea party. Capture all the tiny details as you move around and photograph the event.
Dress up in your house might mean superheroes and princesses, doctors and police officers, or mommy and daddy. This kids photo shoot is fun to do indoors and out. Take your little Spider-Man to the park for some more adventurous photos.
Similar to bubbles, balloons add a sense of magic and a wonderful pop of color to a child’s photograph. Balloons are great for a kid’s birthday photo shoots, but also for any other time you are looking for a creative way to photograph your child.
This is a photo idea you can do many times throughout the year. Your children change so quickly and so does their interests in different toys. This photo can be your child with her favorite stuffed animal or playing with her favorite toy. Capturing her interests will help you document each different stage as she grows.
If your kids are anything like mine, they reach an age where they like to pick out their own clothes and the combinations can be interesting. Every once in a while I tell my kids to get themselves dressed and then we go out and take family photos. I love having a few photos a year where I get to choose coordinating outfits, but my favorites are the photo shoots when they dress themselves.
Through the alphabet
This is a super fun photo shoot to do with your baby. It can easily be done with your toddler as well, but may take slightly longer. Find objects that start with each letter of the alphabet (apple, ball, car…). Take a photo of your little one with each item, one at a time. Get different angles as he plays with each thing. At the end you will have a collection of great photos. Put them together into a book and you gave a personalized alphabet book for your child!
This one might have you feeling a bit anxious, but hang in there with me. Kids love getting messy and the truth is, it’s an important part of their development. So go outside, find some mud, and let them play. Take photos of their little hands and feet as they explore. Get the smiles on their faces and the expression they make when their hands touch the cold mud for the first time. Try not to worry about the clean up afterwards and just enjoy the moment.
Rain or snow
Snowflakes and raindrops add texture to a photograph. Go outside and photograph your child as they try to catch a snowflake on their tongue, splash in puddles in their rain boots, and explore nature in different weather. If you need a few tips for getting better photos in the snow, read this.
Mirrors make for super fun baby and toddler photo shoots. They love to look at themselves in the mirror and you are sure to get some precious expressions with this one.
Silhouettes make great family photos to hang on your wall. They break up the colorful, more regular looking photos, and provide a creative look at your family. The best time of day to get good silhouettes is during the half hour before the sun goes down. Use the light from the sun going down to backlight your subject. Keep your ISO low and don’t use your flash. Keeping your subjects dark and just the dimly lit sky behind will give you beautiful silhouettes.
Looking out/looking in
Children are naturally curious which gives childhood a magical feel. Use the curiosity in your family photos. Take a picture from behind as your child looks out a window or look in through a window at your child as they are peering out.
Kids love to dance. Put some of their favorite music on and have a little dance party in your kitchen or another well lit room in your house. The photos will turn out best of you use a large window to put light on your kids as you take photos. To create frozen motion, set your shutter speed fast (1/500 or more). For an image that shows a little motion blur, slow your shutter speed a bit (1/250ish).
Get out a few new bath toys and fill the tub with bubbles for his photo shoot. If you’ve got a tiny baby, take a few photos in the baby bath, interacting with baby to get sweet giggles. In these photos, take photos of the little hands, wet faces, get above your child and down on their level. You’re sure to get some great images with your kiddos playing in the bath.
I take my kids to the library every week. This is my absolute favorite place to take photos because of the big windows that let in perfect light, the colorful backgrounds, and the texture the books add to the photographs. Take your babies and toddlers to the library and photograph them with the toys and books as they explore.
Taking photos from a variety of angles is an easy way to get great images. As your toddler plays with play doh, move around her and take several photos.
A few examples are:
- get below and take photos of her feet dangling from the chair,
- get down to the level of the table and focus on her hands,
- get above her and take a bird’s eye view,
- get behind her and take a photo looking over her shoulder.
There are so many different angles you can take in photography. This photo shoot idea will challenge your photography and provide a beautiful look into your kids life.
From up above
Some of my favorite photos of my kids are birds eye view shots. I love watching them from this angle. If you have a way to get above them, looking down into their world, go ahead and get some photos. You can also stand on a chair and look down. This is a creative angle when your child is eating breakfast, coloring, or reading a book.
Try taking out all distractions in your photograph. Take a portrait of your child against a plain white backdrop. Or go outside on a snowy day and take a photo where your child is the only colorful dot against a completely white scene. The scene doesn’t have to be a solid color. Look for opportunities to make your child the only element that stands out in the photograph.
Wild and free
For this one, rather than taking your toddler to a playground, find a location outside with lots of open space and natural elements. Let your kids be kids, running jumping, climbing. Look for a location with a nice field for running, some climbing elements like logs or rocks, and possibly some water like a small creek. The point of this photo shoot is to capture your child being wild and free. If you are photographing your baby, bring along a blanket too. Give your baby a little space and take photos as he watches the world.
Sneak a peek
Be a fly in the wall for this photo shoot. As your child is playing in her room or reading a book on the couch, find a spot where you can sneak a few photos. Include the door or other element so you can tell your viewing your child from behind something. These sweet photos give a glimpse into your child’s independence. For your baby, it might be looking over the shoulder of mom or dad like the photo below.
Mom and Dad’s clothes
Get a few pairs of your shoes, jewelry, dad’s shirts, and your dresses out and let your kids have some fun getting dressed up. These photos always turn out fun. You can get creative with your baby too. Lay her on your wedding dress or next to a pair of your fancy shoes. Put daddy’s baseball cap next to your little man or adorn him in one of dad’s ties.
Photography can be more than just getting photos of your family. It can also create opportunities to connect with your kids and have some fun! Creating these fun photo shoots for your baby and toddler is the perfect way to get candid photos.
Now it’s your turn to put this to action! Choose at least one of the photo shoot ideas from above and take photos of your kids this week. You will be pleasantly surprised with the results because you have the cutest model on the planet!