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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> How to get a toddler to sit still?
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05/05/2007 10:03:11 PM · #1
So, I'm really curious more than anything, how on earth do you get a toddler to sit still?
I was trying to take this little girl's picture today and she would not sit still.
The blur was the only real problem.
I used my flash to try to get rid of it, and then the light just looked awful and blown out everywhere.
Then I changed my ISO, and of course it was grainy.
How on earth do you people manage such adorable baby photos without these problems?
Just lots of editing?
05/05/2007 10:05:28 PM · #2
Bronze 'em? ;)
05/05/2007 10:06:44 PM · #3
Well for me Super Glue - SMILE!

I find with children I position myself low somewhere in their sphere and then lie in wait.

After a while when they've forgotten you're there, the magic begins. As although toddlers sometimes only have the attention span of a gold fish, usually something takes it's fancy and it stops - little moments of MAGIC!
05/05/2007 10:08:12 PM · #4
what kinds of shots are you trying to take? Studio? Indoor? Outdoor?

For motion blur you really just need a faster shutter speed. Flash is one way or just increase the room light. Outside use fill flash but tone it down so it doesn't over power the ambient light.
05/05/2007 10:10:46 PM · #5
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Well, that's one of two good shots I got.
The small size is for her safety (internet and all..)

She was always playing with something, fussing, or looking the wrong way.
I tried distracting her with a puppet, a cracker, and a flashlight, and she just didn't care.

It was REALLY hard getting her to look at me..
05/05/2007 11:53:17 PM · #6
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Duct tape works wonders.....
05/05/2007 11:57:42 PM · #7
Get mum to bring a favourite toy and also get right down to their level. Then lots of lots of patience. Also a long shutter remote so that you can be standing in a differnt part of the room helps sometimes. I often have mum dancing around and making funny noises in the background. Different things work for differnt kids.
05/05/2007 11:57:52 PM · #8
Benadryl
05/06/2007 12:03:06 AM · #9
Thankfully it was unorganized..
But her mother wants an organized shoot in my brother's studio.. And she wants me to do it..

I'll keep this stuff in mind when the time comes.
Thankfully, I have my little brother to practice with.
=P

Thanks, guys..

And lmao@ductape..
05/06/2007 12:04:32 AM · #10
I too support ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' Monique64, you should use some kind of toy or something that attract your kid to see at you and then take photograph. My daughter is 3 now and I did not have any problem since day 1. Most of the time I ask my wife to stand behind me and call my daughter and with doing that she respond back and I was able to take pictures.
05/06/2007 12:15:10 AM · #11
Originally posted by Brad:

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Duct tape works wonders.....


When I worked at the daycare, I would constantly threaten to buy a gigantic velcro mat and put it up on the wall.. then have all the kids have to put velcro jumpsuits on when they came to stay. In the event of misbehavior.. *STICK!* Right up on the wall for time-out.

Sadly, my idea was vetoed by my supervisors. Pity.
05/06/2007 03:21:38 AM · #12
One suggestion I heard is to roll up some sticky tape into a ball, so that some of the sticky side of the tape is on the outside of the ball and give it to the toddler. This will give them something to concentrate on (i.e. trying to get it off their hands) and may get them still enough for a couple of shots.

Not yet tried it myself, though.
05/06/2007 03:24:26 AM · #13
How do you get a toddler to sit still?? Hahahaha, I wish there was an easy answer to that one...I have a 14 mth old and boy, trying to get a perfect shot is nearly impossible but I just might try that sticky tape one. Normally you just have to lie in wait and quickly capture that shot, and reject about 100. Good luck!
05/06/2007 03:51:25 AM · #14
I'm going to have this very same problem (ok similar problem) within the next couple months. A friend from work wants me to take some pictures of his very hyper 3 or 4 year old. This litle girl can move like nobody's business. Luckily he wants to do outdoor shots so maybe I'll have tons of light to help me with a fast shutter.

My wife does home day care and I constantly tell her to give them benadryl when the natives get restless lol.
05/06/2007 04:33:36 AM · #15
Valium?
05/06/2007 06:19:51 AM · #16
i find the funny hat (see left) works wonders with older kids and adults. babies, i just follow them around, and when they forget aobut me, then it's good.

baby link.
05/06/2007 06:44:14 AM · #17
I use dependable clothing to keep my toddlers still.
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05/06/2007 06:51:04 AM · #18
classic, tim.
05/06/2007 09:20:27 AM · #19
It's nearly impossible to get my 2 year old to sit still if he doesn't want to... When it's "photo time", I simply follow him around and capture him doing what he does best!

ETA: Some of my favorite pictures of him come from doing this.

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Message edited by author 2007-05-06 09:22:52.
05/06/2007 08:32:51 PM · #20
I work with toddlers at a daycare, and I've spent the last week at work trying to snap their photos for Mother's Day gifts......sigh.

It's hard. They're ALWAYS on the go. Though after about the 4th day, some of the older ones were catching on and were totally hamming it up for the camera. One of them even came across the playground to where I'd just taken a pic of one of the other kids, looked at me and mumbled something that represented "picture" and sat down. Then he looked up at me as if to say, "I'm ready now!! Why aren't you shooting?!"

I think you've just gotta be fast! And, in my opinion, at this age the best photos are the ones where they're just being themselves. Don't worry too much about posing and sitting still. Maybe have several toys for them to play with "on set" and see what magic unfolds. You get so much more about their personality that way.

One other tip might be to have mom stand behind you and try to get the tod to smile.
05/06/2007 09:05:24 PM · #21
Sometimes the toddler in motion is more interesting than one sitting still. To a toddler, the camera (or the lens) is a new, interesting toy. Mine tried to reach for the lens, and thought it was funny. So be sure to use AI focus and a higher ISO (and noiseninja)
05/07/2007 11:26:40 AM · #22
Now that I think about it, that might make for cuter photos.
Not to mention if she's just crawling around and playing, there's probably a lesser chance of fussiness.
=P

Thanks guys.
05/07/2007 11:44:08 AM · #23
I've used (successfully and unsuccessfully) having a cartoon/DVD playing on a tv behind me. the kids sit still and watch it. then I do something to distract them to get a smile. ie the funny hat suggestion. I got some great christmas shots with a blinking santa hat on my head...

05/07/2007 11:47:43 AM · #24


Here's how they used to keep kids still for those long exposure shots in The Olden Days.

Dangerous Drug Bottles

05/07/2007 12:10:42 PM · #25
Give them something to eat.

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Okay, so maybe not this extreme but Cheerios work wonders. Small stickers work well too. Stick them to their little fingers or the back side of their hand. Just make sure they don't eat them.

For this one mom and dad placed him right where we wanted him several times while I shot away. AKA: Catch and Release! It took several tries to get the shot just like we'd talked about but was well worth the effort. It's one of my favorites. Now that he's 3 and can tell me "big boy" things I really treasure remembering him at this stage with his teddy bear.

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Try to time it so they (and you!) have had a nap first. You'll both be less cranky.
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