12 Ways to photograph uncooperative children


Kids can be a handful sometimes so when it comes to energetic toddlers, chairs are your best friend.

Let them decide

Don’t make them pose, make them play instead! Peek-a-boo is a perfect example of how to capture a smiling face with young kids effortlessly!

Let them be the photographer

This works great for 18 months and up and sometimes even younger ones want to play along! Hold the camera and let them push the button to take a picture of their parents or siblings, and then its your turn to take a picture of them.


Works with all ages. I’ll have mom or dad tickle the kids to get more natural smiles.


Singing, Dancing, Playing their favorite song. All help for calm and happy environment during the photoshoot and help the kid be themselves.

Offer a reward

Whether it’s my own son or a client’s child I tell them they can pick out ANY rock, flower, frog, or blade of grass that they want and can keep it forever! And we act like it is THE most special rock we’ve ever seen!

Because kids usually are told no all day long, they light up when you tell them YES!

Reverse psychology

It’s such an easy but effective trick with toddlers and young kids.

The thing they love the most is doing the exact opposite of what they’re supposed to do, so just ask them NOT to do it! Don’t smile, don’t sit…

New toy

Especially for babies- seeing a new toy immediately catches their attention. Use it to have them look at the right direction.

Favorite Toy

Let the kids have their favorite toy/plush with them during photoshoot.

Let them see

Show them themselves in the camera during photoshoot.

Baby Boss

Ask them how they want to have the picture taken. (Where do they want to stand/sit? How? Who should be in the picture)


When the children are not cooperating, I will tell the parents to give them what they need. Pre-planning is crucial…make sure they are warm or not too hot, wear the right clothes, eat enough, have enough sleep…so taking care of the rest beforehand is emotional. They may need some fun, sunbathing, crazy spinning and dancing with mom and dad. Many people just need comfort. Asking strangers to take pictures of them may make them feel uncertain, so I told mom and dad to keep paying attention to their baby and be prepared to provide all the snuggling they need.