5 Secrets to More Color at Home

Family Day: The Venice Canals (+ Our Quick Tips For Photographing Toddlers)


Tips For Photographing Toddlers

A few weeks back we took a spontaneous trip to the Venice Canals with Arlo for the first time. It’s where our best friends got engaged (we were in on the surprise!), so it holds a special place in our hearts, but Arlo had never been. He absolutely LOVED it. Loved running over the bridges, seeing all the boats, pointing at the ducks and trying to open every single person’s gate to break into their house. LOL!

On this trip, we brought along what we’re calling our new “family camera.” Canon recently reached out to us about the Canon EOS Rebel T7i and I was really excited because we’d been meaning to get a new, lighter camera to take with us on Family Friday trips. We’re a Canon family and LOVE the professional camera we shoot with, but it’s just not always practical for toting around on our family adventures. The EOS Rebel T7i, on the other hand, is perfect.

A lot of you ask Jeff and I if we have a recommendation for a great camera for beginner photographers who just want to take photos of their family or travels. This is it! Both Jeff and I actually learned to shoot on Rebels! The latest model is a great basic DSLR camera that’s simple to use but still equipped with some amazing features that make it really easy to capture shots of quick-moving kiddos like ours. Here are some of the pics we took on the camera from our trip, along with a few of our top tips for photographing a busy toddler!

Tips For Photographing ToddlersTips For Photographing Toddlers

1. Go For Candids: It is infinitely harder (read: impossible?) to get a busy toddler to stop what they’re doing and smile for the camera than it is to catch a happy moment while they’re running around or playing…so one of my biggest tips would be embrace the candid shots! Instead of making a big deal out of taking out the camera and asking them to stop or pose, just break it out while they’re already happy and busy. You’ll likely catch way more smiles and laughs that way! Plus, I find the moments where they’re truly being themselves are the ones you want to remember, anyway.

Tips For Photographing Toddlers

2. Get On Their Level: If you want to really capture your child and the world as they see it, get down on their level before snapping the shot. You’ll get a much clearer view of their cute little face and it will set you up for a better composed shot overall. You rarely want to be looking “down” on a subject—shooting on the same plane is where you want to be!

Tips For Photographing Toddlers

3. Speed, Speed, Speed: You’re going to want a camera with a fast capture speed and/or a high-speed continuous setting so your photos aren’t just of a blurry toddler blob running by! That’s one of the reasons we love the EOS Rebel T7i—there is almost no lag between what you see and the photo captured when you press the shutter button. It also ensures moving legs and swinging arms are crisp and clear instead of blurred.

You can take it up a notch by switching the camera to the “high-speed continuous” setting, which means the camera will quickly snap several photos when you press and hold down the shutter button. That means instead of just one photo, you’ll get a few images and up your chances of capturing the perfect moment.

Tips For Photographing Toddlers

4. Rely On Autofocus: The last thing you want to worry about is messing with the camera’s focus because you’ll miss the shot—or even worse, get the perfect shot but it’s totally blurry! So you want to shoot with a camera that has incredibly accurate autofocus. The EOS Rebel T7i has a 45-point autofocus system, which means it quickly locks focus on a subject regardless of movement or placement in the viewfinder…AKA your toddler can’t run fast enough to beat it. Haha!

Tips For Photographing Toddlers

5. Bust Out The Distractions: Last but not least, a parent’s best friend…distractions. We’re a big fan of snacks in the Mindell family because we all are much more pleasant when we’re not hangry. LOL! If we really need a non-candid, posed shot, that’s pretty much how we make it happen—because you know Grandma and Grandpa always want a good posed shot or two. Snap a shot between bites and just embrace the pretzel or Bamba in their hand. They’re a kid, after all! If you’re lucky enough to have a partner in crime while you’re trying to get the shot, silly faces or favorite toys waving from behind the camera are always a hit, too.

If you’re holding your babe, sunglasses and hats seem to THRILL them and make a great built-in distraction for a really cute shot, too.

Tips For Photographing ToddlersTips For Photographing ToddlersTips For Photographing Toddlers

Photos by Jeff Mindell

Hope those tips are helpful for anyone out there trying to figure out how to chase a toddler around while simultaneously capturing the moment. Ha! If you want to check out the EOS Rebel T7i for your family, you can find it here!

This post was created in partnership with Canon. All content and opinions are that of my own! Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep the Studio DIY party going! Read more about my editorial policies here.


  • alexandra

    Love all the tips here!! Would you share what lens or lenses you used here?

  • Kelly

    We used both the 18-55mm lens that came with the camera (linked in the post above) and our 50mm 1.4 lens as well!

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