#tubbytoddtip — How to take family pictures with toddlers

Photo of two children
It finally feels like Fall here and so we are starting to think about the holidays, and have things like Christmas cards on our minds. I was trying to be on the ball and schedule family pictures early this year- but on Saturday our scheduled photographer got caught in three hours of LA traffic and wasn't able to make our shoot. We were all dressed and semi presentable so I desperately called a friend who takes pictures and he met us for dinner and took a few shots in downtown Carlsbad. In the end, it was one of the best days we have had as a family that I can remember. 
Growing up, some of the only memories I have of my parents arguing was during family pictures. Now as a mom of two little ones, I could see how it would be easy during a family photo shoot to want to cause harm to one another or any innocent bystanders. I have thought a lot about how to help family pictures be a pleasant experience for all involved- especially the little ones. After much deliberation, here are my five tips for incredible holiday pictures with toddlers:
1. Don't overspend on pictures. These years go so quickly and you want to capture every moment, but I think it is easy to fall victim to paying more than you can afford for family pictures. Choose a photographer that has a price range you feel comfortable with. If you end up agreeing to pay a photographer more than you feel comfortable with, you will never feel satisfied with what they deliver. If you are strapped for cash, ask a friend or family member to help with pictures. 
2. Wear what you feel comfortable in. Opposed to choosing a color theme, choose items that are favorites of each member of the family and then work around those. For example, I bought those new boots for Walker and knew I wanted to work them in. Jo loves that green dress and it is so cute on her. I started by choosing a piece for each of us that was a "must have" and then finished the outfits when I already had those pieces selected. It always feels so much more natural than forcing everyone to wear the same color and clothing they wouldn't normally wear. 
3. When working with little ones, have a reward(s) to incentivize happy shooting. Jo has been saving her pennies for a doll house set. Before the photo shoot we went and picked it up together and had it waiting in the car during pictures.  When she refused to smile for pictures, I would whisper the words, "doll house!" in her ears. Worked like a charm. Fruit snacks were enough for Walker- anything to keep those cheeks happy.
4. Choose places you love to be as a photo site. One of the things that made these pictures so meaningful to us is that downtown Carlsbad is where we spend time together as a family. It was so special to be able to document moments in a place that has meant so much to us these last few years. 
5. Make it a happy event. Jo ripped her hair out, the photographer cancelled, Walker was teething… let's be honest, this wasn't a completely stress free day. But, with a little Diet Coke and an attitude adjustment (from me!) our day became so great and I will always have these pictures to remember our time out with friends, eating delicious food (we went to Swammi's!) in a place we love.
What do you think? How do you wrangle the littles during family pictures? I'd love to hear!
Here are a few of my favorites from last Saturday. Hope you enjoy!
Holiday love,
Family holding handsFamily sitting on stairs
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