How to Prepare your Children for a Photo Session

Young children are expressive and genuine with their feelings. This can make for some wonderful, authentic photos of laughter & fun!

Parents with young daughter sit in sand dunes.
Parents with young daughter sit in sand dunes at Mothecombe Beach.

But what if my child misbehaves during our shoot!? Let me start by saying that as a mum and photographer, it will not surprise or shock me if your child ‘has a moment’ during our session. My kids have plenty of these on a regular occurrence! What I can do, is give you a few tips to help you feel confident and well-prepared for your shoot and to make these sessions as enjoyable as possible.

Well-rested and fed I don’t know about you but I get hangry! Ensuring your child is well rested and fed will definitely increase the chances of them being in a good mood for photos. Water and snacks are always a good idea for your shoot – just try to ensure that snacks are small not messy!

Dress comfortably Your choice of clothing will have a big impact on how your images will look but also on how you and your children will feel. If your daughter will only wear skirts, embrace the skirts! Forcing her to wear something different will most likely result in a grizzly child!

Let them know what to expect Letting them know that they’re going to the woods or the beach to have some photos taken, how long it will take and why it’s important to you will help you child(ren) feel prepared for the shoot too.

Bring something they love The idea of a photo session may feel scary to your child. Allowing them to bring a toy or something which is special to them may help them to feel more at ease.

Get the kids excited Tell them how much fun it’s going to be! Talk about the fun things they’ll be able to do like have races with each other, find a fallen tree to climb on or splash in the sea – positive attitudes are contagious, if you’re excited about it, chances are they’ll be excited too!

Plan something fun Plan to do something fun after your photo session as a reward. A promise to go to the park or have an ice cream can be enough of a reward to help your child look forward to the session. I always find rewards are better than ultimatums and aim to keep my sessions light-hearted & fun!

Have fun! Don’t worry about prompting your child to smile – my goal is to capture photographs of the natural interactions between you and your family. If there is a game your child likes to play (peek-a-boo, tickling, I spy, etc) let’s play it! Family photos are important, but it’s not worth getting stressed out about. Focus on enjoying yourself, being present with your family and having fun.