5 Smart Ways to Prepare Toddlers for Newborn Photos

ways to prepare your toddler for newborn photos by alison bell, photographer

5 Ways to Prepare Toddlers for New Baby Photos

Toddlers are the hardest age. They have will and little reasoning or coaxing capacity. Most don’t even know what candy is. That makes finding ways to prepare toddlers really challenging.

But when it comes to newborn photos, in home newborn photos are the easiest way to do photos with a new big sister or new big brother and new baby. There’s a TON of new changes happening and there’s no way to plan for it. Baby is coming, talk it up as much as possible and give everyone (yourself included!) grace and patience.

When it comes to the newborn photoshoot itself, there are 5 ways to make it as easy and delightful for everyone – especially the toddler. Here are my top 5 tips for prepping your toddler for newborn photo session:

  1. Work around the toddler’s nap schedule
  2. Do the photos at home
  3. Bribery/rewards
  4. Photograph them first
  5. Keep it fast & fun
free what to wear guide for newborn photos

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Hey! I’m Alison, lifestyle photographer, recovering homeschool mama of 4 boys circus and USMC family.

I’ve been photographing families for 12 years. One thing I’ve learned: photos never lose their value.

But the thought of dealing with 3 hour studio photoshoot is just too much. 

Not only do you have to worry about getting everyone dressed and to the studio on time, but spaces can be cramped and uncomfortable – and take forever!

In home newborn photos are half the time and capture the intimate details that studios simply can’t.

Alison Bell, Photographer

How Newborn Photos Work

  1. We book your due date. I only take 2 families per week to leave plenty of wiggle room. Baby’s gonna do what baby’s gonna do! We get wardrobe set before delivery.

2. After baby arrives and everyone is home, we set the actual photo session day. Newborn sessions are weekday mornings usually around 10am and last up 90 minutes and are easy and painless.

3. Two to three weeks after photo day we gather again virtually for your Gallery Reveal & Order appointment! Buy only what you love. Digital files come with the print products.

There’s nothing easy about family photos

There’s a lot of decision making that can be overwhelming:

  • what to wear
  • where to go
  • what sizes to print

I provide wardrobe support from start to finish. Every client gets access to Style & Select. If Pinterest and Stitch Fix had a baby this would be it. Everything is vetting for colors, patterns & textures that look good in camera by photographers for family photography.

I’ll help you streamline everything so that your images are framed beautifully on your walls, not just collecting digital dust in the cloud.

Ways to prepare your toddler for newborn photos by alison bell photographer

5 Ways to Prepare Toddlers for Photos

1. Work around the Toddler’s nap schedule

This might be obvious, but with a new baby there’s a lot to juggle and to do so on little sleep is harder. Ways to prepare toddlers No. 1 is to work around her schedule.

Most newborn photo sessions happen start between 9-10 am, before a morning nap if there is one. Everyone is most fresh and easily coaxed with snacks – clean ones of course!

2. Do the photos at home

Leave the house and we’re asking for trouble. A photo studio is not the place for an unattended toddler with lights, cords, props and toys sometimes literally falling off shelves. You’ll be attending to the baby’s positioning, helping the photographer in a studio and at least need a second hand from Dad to supervise the toddler in studio.

If you do the photos at home, you’re already in a hazard free zone. Big bro or sis knows their boundaries and limits. S/he won’t be inclined to explore unfamiliar territory. And equally, your toddler will feel comfortable in his or her own house, with snacks and treats s/he knows.

ways to prepare your toddler for newborn photos by alison bell, photographer

3. Bribery + Rewards

Bribery by definition is to encourage illegal behavior. Of course we’re not actually bribing illegal behavior! But we will reward with puffs, smarties or any other clean snack to get a few extra baby kisses.

4. Photograph the toddler first

Also simple: let’s do the shots with big bro first! They’re cooperative, still sizing up this chick with the black thing in her hand. Let’s get the family photos, the sibling shots & and let them be done.

And because we’re:

  1. at home
  2. happy to use rewards

Toddler can go watch a show at any time! In mom’s bed? sure! In the living room? Whatever you’re comfortable with!

And finally…

ways to prepare your toddler for newborn photos by alison bell, photographer
Alison Bell, Photographer

5. Keep it Fast & Fun

This is my entire approach to family photography summed in one phrase. Blow kisses, sing a song, jump on the bed, count 10 kisses, hug Daddy’s booty, do a lil dance. Keep it short and sweet and it’ll be done in no time, before sleepiness sets in.

Ways to Prepare Toddlers Wrap Up

Toddlers are the most difficult age to coax. Its not magic, just hard. When you set your expectations a lil lower, you’ll set yourself and your tot, up for success! We’ll do our best and make it as easy as possible for everyone!

More Newborn Photoshoot Resources

I'm a USMC spouse, South Carolina native, recovering homeschool mama of a 4 boy circus. They've taught me the most important facet of family photography: KEEP IT FUN!

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I find joy in chaos. The louder, the better!

I'm a USMC spouse, South Carolina native, recovering homeschool mama of a 4 boy circus.

They've taught me the most important facet of family photography: KEEP IT FUN!

hey, I'm Alison!


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