How to raise your kids to love photos

How to raise your kids to love photos! Tricks for both your baby and toddler!

Taking photos of kids is sometimes tricky business. I mean, in all reality, you are at their command, not the other way around. They are easily distracted, don’t always look at the camera, once they understand they should look at the camera they then refuse just to be obstinate, they require bribes, they think opening their mouth as wide as possible is just as cute as a smile, and they are ALWAYS moving. Yet, when you learn to work around their¬†tricks and you get just the right shot, it’s priceless!

Photographing my girls has become my favorite hobby! And somehow I’ve made it into an activity that the whole family loves. When I was sick in bed the other week and Kevin took Anabelle for a walk and out to dinner, Anabelle stopped at a wall that we have taken goofy pictures in front of before and asked Kevin, “Daddy, can you take a picture of me there?!” And of course he obliged. He loved it. He’s even trying to learn how to adjust the real camera settings himself.

I’m not even kidding. The whole family loves photos as long as we are not interrupting real life.

How to raise your kids to love photos!

Tips while photographing a toddler:

1. Always make it fun!

I get super excited to take a photo and try to never make it feel like a chore or a favor! Make it fun! If I get excited, then Anabelle gets excited! Usually… There’s always the exception. And if she’s not feeling it, sometimes I just need to put the camera away. But if I’m making it fun, she’s usually having some fun too!


2. Don’t be afraid to bribe.

When Anabelle was about a year and a half, she learned what a bribe was. Sometimes the bribe couldn’t wait till after the photos, so I have many photos of her with a jelly bean in her mouth. Seriously, it was either in her mouth or in her hand. Or both… (I’m pretty sure she had one in that elephant purse too in the picture above!) I had to bribe for almost every photo for about 6 months, but she loved it. I don’t remember when, but eventually the bribes stopped and now she is left with a love of taking photos!


3. Give them something to do.

Something to do or something to hold. We spin, jump, hold leaves, collect rocks, give kisses, whatever Anabelle wants to do. I try not “force a photo,” instead I try to capture something fun. It makes it so that Anabelle wants to show off for the camera. And then when I do want to force a photo, she can handle it for a couple shots ūüėČ ¬†But otherwise, I’m able to capture her real personality and interests, and really document her childhood in little snapshots.

painting for the perfect indoor, snowy day activity

4. Involve them.

If Anabelle has something she wants to take a picture of I oblige. (Above, she wanted me to photograph the paint on her hand and posed for me!) And right now Anabelle loves to check through the photos with me. She knows exactly what button on the camera to press to flip back and everything. I go ahead and let her. It makes her feel like she is part of the process, and then if I decide I want to try the shot again, she feels like it was part her decision too.

5. Flip back through the photos often.

Anabelle loves to flip back and look at old photos. Right now, with Daddy and I having our birthdays before her, she is just waiting for her turn to have a birthday. So she is totally into looking at pictures from her first and second birthday parties! She loves seeing herself in the photos! And it only encourages her to take new ones because it’s not like I’m making her stand for a photo she’s never going to see. I also let her tap photos on my instagram and I print those out for home.

Tips when photographing a baby:

These are tips that we started when Anabelle was a baby, and we are doing again for round 2 with Betty because they worked that well! And most of them, minus the peek a boo, are actually still relevant with a toddler. Heck, sometimes we need to get ridiculous to make Anabelle look as well, but they are absolutely essential when taking pictures of a baby!

1. Play peek a boo behind the camera.

Just make sure to hold the camera still when you do it. Either that or get someone else to stand behind you and do something utterly ridiculous to get their attention. You should see how ridiculous my family gets!


2. Be ready, but don’t force it.

When Betty is super smiley, I pull out my camera or my phone, whichever is closer, and just start taking photos. (I try to keep my camera out and around the house so that it’s just as ready to grab as my phone.) I make it like a game so she keeps smiling. If she’s not in the mood, I try again another day.


3. Let them do their thing.

A picture doesn’t always need to mean eyes on the camera and teeth showing. Sometimes it’s best to just get them in action. Let them be natural and capture that. If they happen to look, you are ready. In the picture below, Betty looked at me for a grand total of half a second. I was ready and loved the shot with her eyes on me. On the other hand, in the very first picture of the post with Anabelle looking off to the side, I also took a couple shots of her smiling at the camera for me… By far, my favorite was the one of her doing her own thing and not looking at the camera.


4. If you are using a tripod, make it quick and painless.

Let them do their thing till you are literally ready for the photo! You don’t want to waste their patience and smiles while you are setting everything up!

I’m really excited to start taking more of a photography focus around here! Specifically mom tips for kids. I hope you love these new articles!

What’s your best trick to raise your kids to love photos?!

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  • Love this! Such great tips, thanks for sharing!

    • Morgan Leigh

      Hope they work for you! Thank you!