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    How to Handle a Busy Toddler During Mini-Sessions

    People think I’m crazy when I say I LOVE shooting families with young kids. Give me ALL the toddlers!!

    It’s no secret that sometimes toddlers can be difficult to get to follow directions. There is so much to see around them, and if they don’t explore it all right then, then they feel like they’re missing out!! (Can anyone relate?)

    I’ve had my fair share of busy toddlers during my mini-sessions, and I want to share some of my best tips for getting great shots of them when they’re distracted.


    1. Let them explore!


    The world is very big to a toddler, and they need time to explore their surroundings. If they’re showing interest in the environment and are clearly not interested in taking photos right that second, give them some time to take in their surroundings.

    This is a good time to capture a shot of them walking around, smelling flowers, looking at rocks, etc. Capture the wonder in their eyes! You can call their name and have them show you things. Usually I’m able to get some very sweet smiles during these moments as they glance up at me. 

    (Pro tip: Snap FAST! I keep my camera on continuous shutter so in moments like these I can snap away and not miss the tiny second they glance up at me.)


    2. Play Games


    I just had a toddler give me a hard time the other day. He wanted to walk around and wouldn’t stand with his family if his life depended on it! Even when Mom or Dad would hold him, he would only keep his back to me.

    Then we tried something else.

    I had Dad hold him and everyone “ran” towards me. Instead of really running, they were taking teeny tiny steps in my direction. But Dad was bouncing the kid as if he were running with him. The smile on the kid’s face was PRICELESS! 

    As long as the kid doesn’t think you’re posing for a photo, they’ll have so much fun and let that smile show.

    Read “My 3 Favorite Family Posing Prompts” for more easy, candid posing ideas!

    3. Give them examples

    If the toddler has an older brother or sister, another great way to get them to smile is to have big brother/sister show them how it’s done! I’ll have the sibling do exactly what I want the toddler to do. Then I’ll challenge the toddler to see if they can do it too. Most toddlers love a good challenge!


    4. If all else fails, BRIBE THEM.

    I’m never above a bribe! In my Final Info Email, I literally tell my families to bring bribes just in case. Gummies, M&Ms, whatever the kids love. We’ll make a deal with the kid that if they smile, they’ll get a treat.

    The key here is to follow through with the rewards! Sometimes after EVERY smile, we’ll reward the kid. 

    I have a hilarious story about a dad and bribe candy! If you'd like some extra enjoyment today, DM me on Instagram and I'll share the story with you! @rebeccaricephotography




    If you haven't already, be sure to check out my FREE 1-hour mini-sessions class! Head to to watch today!


    You may also like…

    “What to Do If a Kid Cries During a Mini-Session”

    “Answers to Tough Questions: Mini-Sessions Edition”

    “How to Price Your Mini-Sessions”


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