If you have young children and you are trying to prepare for family photos, I am going to guess that you are probably feeling stressed out. You are investing time and money and you want the pictures to turn out perfect. You want your kids to cooperate and you want them to be on their best behavior, but instead you find yourself screaming at your misbehaving children as you frantically load up in the car. I am here to tell you that it is all going to be okay. Just take a deep breath and relax.

There are a few things you can do ahead of time to help things move more smoothly, but most of what happens during the session will have the greatest impact. Here are seven things you can do (or rather, not do) before and during your session to help your family photos go smoothly.

Do not discipline your children during the session.
THIS IS THE BIGGEST ONE. Disciplining during the session almost always backfires and makes matters worse. I know as a parent, you want your child to behave and cooperate for the photographer. I am here to tell you that you do not need to worry about your child behaving for me! In my eyes they can do no wrong. Let them play and let them be a little wild and mischievous (as long as it is safe to do so). I want to get pictures of your child in their element and truly being who they are. Relax and let me take over. This is a no judgment zone. I love the chaos.

Let your child take the lead.
During a photo session with me, we will let your child take the lead. I will never force your child to do something they do not want to do. Again, this will just backfire. If your child is being shy or only wants to be with you, comfort them and give them what they want! Cuddle them. Stroke their hair. Rock them in your arms. We will capture that special, quiet moment because there is nothing quite like that natural connection between a child and a parent. On the other hand, if your child is squirming out of your arms and wants to be put down, let them go and let them explore. I can take pictures of them running around and playing with nature and then I can almost guarantee they will want to come back and snuggle after being allowed to explore a little bit. Just think of the session as a back and forth of freedom to play and then coming back to rest in your arms. This will ultimately get those photos showing your child genuinely happy.

Try to get a good night’s sleep/nap in before the session.
I know that inevitably, this will be the day that your toddler refuses to sleep well at night or even go down for a nap, but please don’t let it stress you out. If we are doing a beautiful outdoor session in Colorado Springs, remember that children love to be in nature. Even if it’s past their bedtime or they missed out on a nap, they will most likely be happy while they are out in nature and allowed to explore. If they need some extra snuggles or want to be carried because they are tired, even better.

Allow extra time to get ready.
I know you have probably been stressing out about getting everyone ready before you even think about getting yourself ready. Lay all of the clothes (and accessories) out for the entire family the night before. You don’t want to be rummaging through closets looking for the other shoe while you are supposed to be loading up in the car. Just take the time to start prepping early. Make sure you take care of your own hair and makeup well before you have to leave so that you have enough time to to help the kids with all of the last minute items. 

Bring a small amount of snacks and water.
Obviously, you don’t want to show up to a session starving, but we all know kids can refuse to eat a meal, but then demand snacks at the worst time. I’m more than happy to carry an extra bag for you to keep a small amount of snacks and water on hand. Just be smart about the snacks you bring. Avoid things like applesauce that could easily spill on clothes or brightly colored things like fruit snacks that might get stuck in the teeth and show in smiles later on. Pretzels and string cheese are both great options that won’t spill and won’t show on those pearly whites. I’m happy to take as many breaks as needed during the session to make sure your kids stay happy and don’t get hangry.

Wear shoes that protect and are comfortable.
Fancy sandals or low dress shoes might look adorable, but it is most likely not practical for a young child taking photos in nature. Most of the outdoor locations I love have tall grasses, rocks and dirt trails. If your child’s feet are hurting from uncomfortable dress shoes or if they are getting poked by grass and gravel, they are probably not going to look very happy in their photos. Taller boots or something similar are a wonderful option that can protect those little feet and allow them to explore, but can still be dressed up. 

Bring layers.
This is especially important in Colorado! For our outdoor sessions, we are almost always shooting around sunset. The temps can change drastically in just minutes and young children tend to not handle that well. Bringing a chunky sweater, a cardigan or a jacket in neutral colors that you can throw on top of an outfit can save the day. The bonus is that it can give a completely different look to your child’s outfit and provide more variation to your session. I always bring extra blankets with me if I know it is going to be cold. Those snuggly photos are some of my favorites!

I hope you find these tips helpful. Honestly, the most important thing is to try and keep your own stress levels down by not worrying too much. Your children will feed off of your stress. Don’t worry, I’ve got you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow the beauty on Instagram