Self Portraits with a Toddler

One of my greatest joys (and biggest challenges!) as a photographer has been learning to be IN PHOTOS. Like you, I am my own worst critic, I struggle to be content with my appearance, I feel awkward in front of the camera, and I struggle to see the beauty that God created in me. Basically, I am a normal female. 😉

Over the years, I’ve learned how to look amazing in photos (it has NOTHING to do with what you wear) but I’ve also learned what I love to wear in photos and I’ve learned a thing or two about how to pose myself (and my clients!) for the most natural, comfortable, flattering images.

I focus on being comfortable in photos because I think it’s so important to understand (and overcome!) the inevitable challenge that my clients face on their way to their photoshoot. The mental load of driving to a photoshoot, the outfit preparation, the emotional rollercoaster while waiting for photos, etc! I HAVE LIVED IT ALL.

In fact, for this particular photoshoot, I loathed every photo I took. Loathed, I tell you.

I questioned my hair, hated my dress, struggled to get the sweater to lay properly, felt like my posing was stiff, and struggled to see the beauty and joy of our family.

I bet you see none of that, right?

You see laughter.
You see beauty.
You see a gorgeous dress.
You see a cute toddler.
You see a happy family.

Here’s the funny part: even though I hated the photos as I took them, by the next day (THE NEXT DAY!) I loved them. I could see the memories objectively, cherish the beauty wholeheartedly.

Over the years, I’ve learned that this is normal.

You are your own worst critic.

You see your flaws, even when no one else does.

You critique your appearance, bemoan your God-given features, and fall prey to the lie that you aren’t beautiful enough.


Photos are valuable anyway.

While I do hire a photographer annually to photograph my family, I also love the challenge and joy of taking my own family photos, even with a toddler. Self portraits with a toddler are no easy feat – can I get an amen?! – but I love the challenge and have learned a thing or two along the way.

I keep expectations low.
I make it short and sweet.
I never expect her to look at the camera and smile (and yet! look! we did!)
I try to keep our locations familiar or undistracted.

And here’s the fun part: self portraits with a toddler are extra challenging, but these principles will apply to your photo shoot, too.

Keep your expectations low. Make it short and sweet. Don’t bribe to “look at the camera” (instead, let that happen naturally while your goofy photography puts on a slapstick comedy show behind the camera!). Choose portrait locations that are as undistracting as possible.

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