Apart from maybe cats, toddlers can be the most uncooperative beings on earth. They know exactly what you would like them to do but if they are not in the mood, you can forget it! But when you specialise in photographing toddlers, you learn a couple of tricks along the way that makes your job easier and give parents the photos they will treasure for years to come.

Here is my big 5.

Contain them

Toddlers are busy, they want to run and play. Sitting still and smiling at someone they’ve never met before is not really their idea of fun.

We use a variety of chairs, buckets and props to keep them in the same spot (for a couple of seconds).

Give them something to hold

Toddlers need to be kept interested in what is happening around them. Most of the times we give them balloons to play with and they quickly figure out that if they drop the balloon, Norman will pick it up and it turns into a lovely game.

One of my favourite tricks is to give them letters that spell their age. The different shapes keep them interested and it creates a lovely keepsake for the parents

Surprise them into a smile

Asking toddlers to smile is not a great idea – they will either ignore you or grin at you. The better thing to do is to surprise them into a smile. How? Ask them silly questions or ask them to make a silly/angry face or even sing a song from their favourite TV show.

Give them something fun to do

When toddlers do something they enjoy the smiles will happen. But you will capture so much more than just a smile. Toddlers have such a huge range of facial expressions and this environment will allow their personalities to come through.

NO bribery

None of us wants to admit it, but bribery takes place in every household. And whilst it may work to offer Junior an ice cream if he picks up his toys that are strewn over the living room carpet, at photo sessions it is actually something you should NOT do. Bribery makes me the “bad guy” because I’m the one standing between them and getting that treat.