The Best Settings For Toddler Photos

Trying to take candid, memorable photos of toddlers is not an easy task, especially if you’re looking to capture perfect moments.

The Best Settings For Toddler Photos

Toddlers are extremely active and full of energy, so getting them to sit still and smile for the camera is not always easy. However, this is an important part of a person’s life, so you’ll likely want some good photos that you will be able to look back on once they’re older.

With the right camera settings, you’ll be able to take impressive photos of your toddler that you can cherish for a lifetime.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at the best camera settings for toddler photos, so that you can capture these precious early moments without having to struggle with your camera.

What Are The Most Important Camera Settings?

So let’s start with the very basics. Camera settings refer to the various changes and tweaks you can make on your camera to take better photos.

These can vary depending on whether you’re using a film or digital camera, and can include aperture, ISO, white balance, focus, and shutter speed. 

Each of these settings can play a vital role in how your photos turn out, and understanding them is the first step towards obtaining mastery over your camera. Let’s take a look at some of these terms to understand what they mean. 


Aperture is a term commonly used within photography. In short, it refers to the size of the opening in your camera’s lens. Aperture controls the amount of light that is allowed to enter the camera, as well as the depth of fields.

A shallow depth of field will mean that your subject will be in focus with a blurry background, while a deep depth of field means the opposite. 

Aperture is always measured in what we call “f-stops.” A lower f-stop number will indicate a larger opening, and a higher one will indicate a much smaller opening.

This means more or less light depending on which way you want to go. If you set your camera all the way up to a high or low f-stop number, you’ll find that the photos you take will look strange and less similar to what the human eye sees.

Shutter Speed

Next up, we’re going to take a look at shutter speed. In short, the shutter speed of a camera is the amount of time that your camera’s shutter stays open when you take photos.

This speed is most commonly measured in fractions of a section, with a faster time meaning the shutter is open for a shorter amount of time. The faster the shutter speed, the more you are able to freeze motion, while a slower speed can be used to create blur.

White Balance

White balance is the color temperature of your photos. Different light sources have different temperatures, which can change the overall look of your photos.

By adjusting the white balance settings on our camera, we will be able to create more accurate-to-life photos without needing to use any artificial editing software. 

For example, photos indoors under artificial light tend to have a yellow tint, while photos in daylight may have a blue tint. You can minimize this by playing with the white balance of your camera.


Another one of the most important settings you’ll need to get accustomed to is ISO. This is the sensitivity of your camera’s light sensor.

A higher ISO just means that your camera will be more sensitive to light, while a lower ISO will mean that your camera is less sensitive.

When trying to create realistic imagery, photographers will use a high ISO for low-light situations, and a low ISO for situations where there is bright light.


Finally, let’s take a look at focus and why this is important. Focus refers to the sharpness of your photos.

This is one of the earliest things that photographers learn to control. Some digital cameras will have autofocus, allowing you to easily focus on your subject without any manual adjusting. 

What Are The Best Settings For Photos Of Toddlers?

What Are The Best Settings For Photos Of Toddlers

So now that we’ve gone over some of the basic camera settings you need to be aware of, let’s take a look at how you can use these to take great photos of toddlers.

1. Best Aperture Setting To Choose

The best aperture setting to choose for taking photos of toddlers is a shallow depth of field. This is because you will want to focus on the child in question, instead of any distracting background elements.

We would suggest a wide aperture (which is a low f-stop number) to create this effect. A good range to choose from is between f/1.8 and f/4 at the highest. 

2. Best Shutter Speed To Choose

You should first consider the motion of your toddler. If your toddler is hyperactive and moving around (perhaps you’re taking photos of them playing) then you should consider using a fast shutter speed.

This will help to freeze their motion and remove any unwanted motion blur. We’d recommend a shutter speed of at least 1/500th of a second. 

You may also want to change and go for a slower shutter speed if you’re taking static photos of your toddler. This can help you to create a more clear image of them, which is especially important for family photos, or for photos when they are less active. 

3. Best Way To Control Wide Balance

The white balance should be set according to the lighting conditions. If you are taking photos indoors under artificial light, set your white balance to the “tungsten” or “incandescent” setting.

If you are taking photos outdoors in daylight, set your white balance to “daylight” or “auto”. If you’re not sure what white balance setting to use, it’s best to set it to “auto”.

4. The Best ISO Setting

The best ISO settings will depend on the lighting conditions of your photo. So let’s say you’re taking an image of your toddler under bright daylight, in this case, you’ll want to use a low ISO.

A good range here would be from 100 to 200. In low light settings, you’ll want to increase your ISO to around 800 to 1600. This will ensure that your photos turn out properly exposed.

5. Focus

Focus is something you should keep in mind as you are taking photos, but it may take some experience to get it right. Manually focusing is something you will have to experiment with before you will have complete control over your camera.

Fortunately, many cameras come with an autofocus mode. We would heavily suggest using this if you want to easily capture images of your toddler without worrying about blur.

Additional Tips For Taking Photos Of Toddlers

Here are a few extra tips that will help you take effective images of your toddler.

  • Capture Their Personality: It can be important to capture the personality of your toddler. Make sure to take images that show what makes your toddler unique, such as their favorite toy, silly expressions, or the way they move. These photos can end up becoming more memorable and special than posed, unrealistic shots.
  • Exercise Patience: Taking photos of any child can be difficult, especially for toddlers. You should make sure to be patient if they are overly excited and uncooperative during a photo session. Try and make the experience fun for your child, and realize that sometimes the best photos happen when you least expect them.
  • Use Natural Light: Natural light can be a great way to create authentic photos that bring the best out of your child (see also “How To Create A Visual Timeline Of Your Child’s Life“). Natural light can create a soft and flattering light, helping to bring out the details of your child.
  • Get Down To Their Level: it can be a good idea to try and take these photos to show the world their perspective. This can mean crouching or lying down to get a shot of them at their level while they are at play. This can help you to capture their expressions and emotions in a more engaging way. 

Final Thoughts

So that was our short guide on the best settings to pick to take photos of toddlers (see also “The Best Settings For Childhood Photos“). We hope that this has been a helpful guide on how you can capture beautiful photos that you and your child will cherish for years to come.

Although taking pictures of toddlers can feel like a challenging task, make sure to use the right camera settings and you will find the process much easier.

Remember to use a fast shutter speed if your child is moving around, a wide aperture to create a shallow depth of field, and an appropriate ISO and white balance setting for the lighting conditions you’re shooting under.

By following these guidelines, you’ll find that you will soon have some great photos that you can share with your family and friends. 

Laura McNeill
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