Essential Lists & Tips

Photographing Toddlers: Getting Them to Sit Still & Look at You

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Photo shoots with your little ones as the main star should not feel like a chore – or worst: a nightmare. The main thing is to just have fun, especially if you are trying to create and capture moments. You need to remember is that the images are meant to immortalize memories, so make it a sweet one. Not only will the images be nice, it will also spark great memories about the process of making the photos.

Here are several tips from professional photographer Nadirah Zakariya of Studio Canpakes on how to capture your shots at home:

1. Indoor vs. Outdoor

For indoor shoots, Nadirah suggests finding a room with the most sunlight from either windows or sliding doors as sunlight is the best form of lighting. Place your little model facing the light so they aren’t back-lit. “Kids move a lot, so please avoid dark rooms, if you do not have proper lighting or flash – you might end up with blurry pictures,” says Nadirah.

For outdoor shoots, she recommends checking the weather forecast as well as sunrise and sunset times. This will help plan your day of shooting better. Apart from that, it will definitely help plan how to dress your kid(s). Light and airy clothes are best for when it is a hotter day; warm and snug for a colder ones.

2. What time of day is best to shoot?

Morning light between 8am – 10am can be beautiful, but avoid shooting at noon as you might face harsh shadows and your little model can get sweaty and hot. Comfort is key, so find shaded areas, with trees or spaces with a roof. “Also plan your shoot that fits with your child’s daily schedule, before or after nap and meal times should be OK,” adds Nadirah.


3. What props do I need?

“Most kids have a favourite toy, so that is always good to bring. I also like to have bubbles handy as it always puts a smile on their faces and keeps their attention on the bubbles rather than the camera. Keep them fun and entertained, some of the best moments are candid rather than posed so your camera should always be ready,” says Nadirah.

4. How do I get my toddler to sit still?

Nadirah suggests creating a small environment for them where they can sit or stand comfortably with things to keep them busy within reach like books, toys, or new objects that they can study. Try to grab their attention and snap photos in between them playing with what’s around them.

“You have to be patient and just have fun. It helps if there is another friend or family member that the child knows to be next or behind you to help grab the child’s attention,” adds Nadirah.


5. What if I only have a camera phone?

There’s absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t make full use of your mobile phone especially if it comes with a good camera. “Phones are great because it is not as intimidating as using a big camera, and your child is probably more familiar with it too. There are many photo editing applications you can use to tweak your photos,” says Nadirah

If all else fails, contact Nadirah at [email protected] or visit Studio Canpakes’ Instagram to book a professional photography session for your tot.

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Text by Anna Lee.

Image Credits: Canpakes Studio.

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