Great Expectations: Toddler Photography

Picture of Tilly



Managing Toddlers and Your Expectations

Seattle Toddler Photography

“Expectation is the mother of all frustration.” – Antonio Banderas

You are the parent of a precious, beautiful toddler. Your budget is a little tight, but you’d love to have professional photographs. You see a local photographer offers an amazing 30 minute package or even a mini-session that fits the bill. Hell yes! You shoot off a quick email to schedule your toddler photography session, and turn around to see that your sweet baby has unraveled a toilet paper role effectively turning his little sister into a mummy and turning your living room into a high school prank.

This more than likely isn’t the first time your precocious toddler has caused some mayhem, and it’s definitely not the last. It should then come to no surprise that a photography session will be no different from your every day life. You know, the one where your child ends up on the floor of the grocery store sobbing because strawberries are red or covers your dog in flour while you’re washing your hands.

According to Helen Fowler Neville, B.S., R.N., author of “Is This a Phase?”, as well as my own personal and professional experiences (aka hard lessons learned), anything shorter than one hour will result in you and your photographer walking away stressed out and unhappy with the results.


toddler photography

There is no time where this theory is more true than it is with one year olds. I get more requests for first birthday sessions than almost any other time in a child’s life.  Your little one just learned how to walk and you want to capture this time. After all, it’s their first birthday! Why wouldn’t you? Close your eyes for a minute; imagine being immobile for the entirety of your life and you just figured out how to do what everyone does- walk. Why on earth would you not practice your new skill every waking moment? Yet parents often expect to get that perfect shot with only 15-30 minutes. It’s setting everyone up for disappointment from the beginning.

Now let’s take that toddler and add some variables and distractions:
1. Stranger: There is a new person with a large black object that makes noise when pointed at your face. This can be really scary for some or be cause for curiosity for a whopping 30 seconds until they are off again.
2. New location: You are at a park of your photographer’s choice, a park your kiddo has never seen or explored. Take a guess what they want to do when they get there? I’ll give you a hint. It’s not sit still, be held or asked to do something.
3. Sleepy Time: Right in the middle of when your photographer said the lighting is best? Yep! Almost always.

toddler photography

A one-hour session at a minimum is going to be your best bet, and here’s why.

Less Stress

You, your partner and most importantly, your toddler have room to breath. You walk into the session relaxed without a sense of urgency. There is no begging or bargaining with your toddler under a looming, ticking clock.  Your photographer can give you poses that are more like playing and everyone has a great time.

More Variation in Images

One hour sessions offer a wider range of possibility. A sink with bubbles, naked baby time, cute baby wrapped in a towel, images with parents together and individually, etc..

Happy Customers

You paid hard-earned money for photography, and I know you want an image you will be proud to hang on your wall. Your photographer wants that for you just as much as you do. It’s about quality for both parties.

A one-year-old by his very nature needs time and patience in everything, including photography. This age is about honoring where they are at emotionally and developmentally, as well as caring for your own sanity.

Do you, your toddler, and your photographer a favor, and book that one-hour session. If you can’t for whatever reason, lower expectations of your toddler’s performance. It will change your entire perspective on the final product, and create a much more satisfied client.

If you’d like more information on how to get the most from your toddler photography session, check out Tips & Tricks for your next Photography Session with your Toddler

seattle photographer






Scroll to Top