If you’re preparing for a photo session with your children, you may be feeling a bit apprehensive. Children can often be tricky deal with, which is why the below tips will definitely come in handy for your next photo session. Parents ask me to share tips to prepare for a photo session with kids, ALL THE TIME… so I wanted to share some of them with you.
- Don’t make a huge deal out of it. If you’re stressed out and cranky, your kids will usually pick up on it and act accordingly. Their behavior will usually be better if you are relaxed and having fun. Plus, tension has a way of showing up in the photos, and you don’t want that. You may have to make some compromises to keep the peace such as letting your energetic daughter’s hair stay straight instead of curling it into because she won’t sit still. Focus on the big picture and don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Make it fun. Let the kids have a couple “fun pictures” where they get to pick their own pose or props. I love to start sessions this way, and it can be a great ice-breaker. You get to keep the more serious photos while they get to keep their silly photos. This way everyone wins. If you are struggling to get your kids to sit still, turn the photo session into a game. Simon Says usually works like a charm. I will sometimes bring a portable speaker with me on location to add an extra fun vibe. You can always bring your own smartphone ready with your kids favorite dance tunes, in case your photographer doesn’t bring their own music & speakers.
- Be prepared. If you’re going to be out for several hours, ensure that your children are well rested and have had their nap. Bringing some snacks and activities along is also a great idea. I would even suggest bringing some kind of special candy or treat as immediate incentive for cooperative smiles. If you are having your own photos taken too then you might want to bring a babysitter or family member along to watch the kids. An extra person is also helpful for children 4 and under, if the entire family is going to be in some of the shots. Having another loved one present to stand behind the photographer acting goofy and asking for smiles can help a lot with small children who may have a hard time connecting with a lens, but if that is not possible, your photographer should have plenty of tricks of their own to get the eye contact and connection they need for their shot. Also, keep in mind If you happen to be shooting in a remote location, you never know when you might need something like bug spray, tissues or a first aid kit, so bring that along too.
- Be patient. Save your sanity by trying not to control the photo session too much. Sometimes the best photos come from kids just doing their own thing. Work with your photographer and your photos will look fantastic.
- Have a chat. Get your children talking to both you and the photographer about topics such as school or their favorite songs. This allows them to feel more comfortable around your photographer and will also give your photographer a chance to capture a few candid and cute expressions.
I hope these tips are helpful to you, and help take away some of the possible anxiety some parents feel about getting photos done with kids. I am a momma of little ones, too, and I know the struggle is real, but I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the portraits I have had done of my girls, or even shots I’ve taken myself. The only regrets I have are for the photo opportunities I did not take, and the seasons when I lapsed in capturing my little one’s milestones. The big take-away is don’t stress the small stuff, be flexible but prepared, and have fun. The photoshoot, done right, should be a fun bonding experience for the whole family.
What are some of your biggest areas of anxiety when it comes to getting photos done or/for your kids? Do you have any tricks that have worked for you, or funny stories to share? I’d love to hear them.