A family photo session is an exciting experience. As a photographer, I’m never bothered by a kid's behavior. I personally feel like allowing a child to be themselves during a photo session can lead to natural, authentic images that truly capture their personalities. It's also important to be patient and flexible, as children can be unpredictable.

However, I know that as a mom of 2 boys, how things can become STRESSFUL! If you want the experience to be fun and the pictures to turn out amazing, don’t stress out. Here are my recommendations of what works well.

1. Prepare for your session

Leaving the wardrobe to the last minute can add up more stress to the session. Don’t worry about the “perfect” outfit. Just make sure kids are comfortable in what they are wearing. If your child hates what they are wearing it’s going to show in the photos. Also, dress with the weather in mind. You want to make sure your child isn’t too cold or too hot. Have all of your outfits picked out before the day of your photoshoot so you are not adding any more stress to your day.

Bring back-up clothes or layers for everyone. Just as a precaution in case clothing gets stained or wet during the shoot.

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2. Snacks and Water

Have everyone fed and bring extra snacks. It’s hard to calm down HANGRY kids! Make sure they have a full tummy before arriving for a session and bring lots of extra snacks. Snacks should be non-staining, and food that won’t get stuck in your teeth. Also bring lots of water. Especially during hot summer days it might get too hot, so bring extra water bottles for everyone in the family.

The following snacks are great to bring since they won’t get all over your Kid’s outfits:

- Cheese cubes

- Dried fruit

- Goldfish Crackers

- Granola Bars

Avoid these snacks since they can either take a long time to eat or stain your teeth and clothing

- Ice cream

- Lollipops

- Chocolate milk

- Juices or Fruit Punch

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3. Make sure everyone is rested

Make sure everyone is well rested. Don;t pile up too many things on the day of the photoshoot. Make your photo session the main event. Clearing your schedule on photo day to allow them to rest before the photo shoot. If kids are tired they will not cooperate during the photoshoot or it will show up in their photos.

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4. Prepare your pitch

Talk to your kids before about the photo shoot. The days leading up to the session tell them that a friend is going to be taking your family photo. Tell them the name of the photographer and show them a photo of the photographer, so they don’t feel that they are meeting a total stranger. Head up before the day about what we’ll be doing and where are they going. Talk to them about how much fun it’s going to be.

5. Show them past family photos

When kids know that this experience will result in a series of fun photos of themselves and life time memories for them, they may be more excited. Most kids LOVE to see photos of themselves.

6. Offer a little Reward

Offer a reward for co-operating throughout the session. Anything that your kid finds exciting and can be rewarded with after the photo shoot is the great way to get them to comply with all of the things we ask them to do during the photo shoot.

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7. Let them Smile Naturally

This is a big one! Resist the urge to say things like “don’t smile like that, give me a real smile”. The best way to get a ‘REAL SMILE’ is to actually make your child laugh or smile. Get involved It can be helpful for you to help the photographer to keep your little one’s attention. This could be anything if they laugh when watching TV, singing a favorite song, joke, or noise try and channel that. A real laugh or smile makes a beautiful photo.

8. Stay Positive and have fun!!

A thing about kids that we forget; they pick up on their parent’s mood. So with that in mind try to take some deep breaths and relax and enjoy the experience. Nothing needs to be perfect. I’m capturing your family as you are at that point in time, so rather then concentrating on taking nice photos- focus on creating beautiful lifetime memories.

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