As a family photographer and mom of two very playful boys myself, I know how challenging those toddler years can feel. When we change the environment or routine, our little ones tend to respond in the only way they know how and sometimes that can lead to not just the toddler being overwhelmed, but mom and dad too. I want to share with you my go-to tricks and tips for how to keep your toddler happy for family photos, I even use these with my own boys for our photos. While not every session is the same, nor is every moment perfect, the overall feeling is much less chaotic when mom and dad work together to use these strategies and be on their A Game, and we can maximize the smiles and play!


First, try to keep things as normal as possible before your session. You won’t want to implement any new big routine changes or have guests staying over at your house. These things can disrupt your little one on a normal day, and we really want to have an exceptional day if you know what I mean. I know it’s difficult when bringing home their new baby sibling, but hopefully, you’ve been able to communicate this big change with plenty of prep!

Next, share how excited you are to take photos with them! Tell them how much fun you’ll have together and that they get to help you in the process, especially if your toddler now has a little sibling to take care of! But again, simple foreshadowing goes such a long way for our little ones in explaining the world and changing environments around them. 

Then, maybe you can plan something really special for after the photoshoot. My boys LOVE movie nights with popcorn. I’m not one to be above making a little bribe with my kiddos to have a smooth-sailing hour or two you know? (Can also try this on Dad with beer, we want him to cooperate too)

Lastly, take care of you before the session. Maybe you like to have a spa day, maybe you like to go for a walk in a garden, but whatever you enjoy that makes you feel rejuvenated and at your best, I would encourage you to do that. Mom and Dad’s energy will always impact baby’s and toddler’s energy, so if you want them to be happy and calm, it first starts with you feeling happy and calm. 


We want to follow your child (ren)’s routine as much as possible, so try to stick with their normal wake and nap-times.

We also want to make sure no one starts the session feeling hungry, baby or toddler. I think we all know how quickly kiddos turn hangry when they want their favorite snack. Feed everyone right before the session, and have your bag stocked!

Also have these things in your bag:

-Favorite snacks that don’t turn their mouth different color

-Favorite lovies or toys to play with or comfort when their not in the photos

-Comfy clothes to change them into after the session, especially if its an evening session. They can comfortable fall asleep in the car ride home!


Little ones only have so long before they want to move onto the next thing, so I work fast to get those sweet moments when everyone is in a good mood!

The best way for mom and dad to help is by staying positive and upbeat regardless of what is happening with your children. If they are screaming, just keep smiling!! Comfort them, and reaffirm them they are safe. But keep smiling!! It only takes a quick moment to snap photos between tantrums, so I need Mom and Dad to be on their A-Game, whatever happens, you should be camera ready. 

Look for the small moments, and try your best to be intentional and genuine even though you’re in front of a camera. Hold hands, kiss your little one’s foreheads and cheeks, cuddle them like you do at home, get on the floor with them, pick them up, dance around, touch noses. All the sweet things. Those are the moments that are going to show up beautifully in photographs and give you those honest, special moments you want to remember instead of just everyone looking at the camera. 

Remember that life with little ones is the season of your life right now, it’s okay and normal if things seem chaotic. If you roll with whatever happens and follow my guidance, you’ll have a gorgeous gallery showcasing your family and the beauty of your life together. 

I would love to help you document your own family’s story. If you would like more information about a session with me, I’d love to invite you to send a little note my way here.

Did you know my studio wardrobe is available to all of my clients? I know how challenging it can be to find pieces that you love for an ever-changing body. My studio wardrobe is a well-curated collection of boutique and designer dresses for both new and expectant mothers. I also have beautiful options for children up to around age 4.


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January 12, 2023



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Choosing an Oklahoma newborn photographer to document your journey into and through motherhood is such a personal decision. I am always honored to be asked to share intimate moments with your family and want you to feel confident in your decision.

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