5 Ways to Survive Family Photos with Littles


You’ve scheduled your session, chosen the perfect wardrobe and the weather is gorgeous. You meet up with the photographer, ready to rock your session.....and your toddler won’t smile. Your ten year old is dangerously close to splashing mud on his jeans and the baby is crying. What have you gotten yourself into???

Family sessions can be stressful. But here are a few ways to ease the anxiety and maybe even help the entire family have fun!

1) Take a deep breath.

I know the photo session was expensive and the clothes are probably new and you’ve never had a professional take your photos before and you REALLY want these to turn out. But getting twisted in knots will only make you unhappy and the kids cranky. Do what you can to quiet the troops and then just focus on your own beautiful smile and let me get to know your kids. It might take a few minutes, but I make it a point to become friends with your kiddos and with a little bit of playtime, the smiles reappear. And if that doesn’t work, we can take a break and revisit the pose once everyone is a little happier.

2) Bring Distractions.

Bubbles, balloons, balls....bring something your child enjoys so that we can warm up with playtime if needed. Or take a break in the middle. I make sure there’s plenty of wiggle room in the schedule for the family to walk, play, and shake off the nerves. We have all the time we need, so enjoy the time together!

3) Bribery is ok.

Ok, I don’t recommend bribery as a typical parenting tool, but it can massively help the photography process. Prior to the event, tell your child that if they behave during the session, you’ll all go get ice cream after (or participate in another activity they love). During the session, you can gently remind them of their reward to help perk up their attitude.


4) Be OK with candid images.

Candids are my favorite. You should definitely know that if you hire me, there will be plenty of candid images. I’ll make sure we get a handful of posed photos where everyone is looking at the camera, but I geniunely feel the magic of relationships and childhood are best captured when everyone is having fun and interacting with one another. So start a tickle fight! Give a kiss! Start dancing! Play peekaboo or give an airplane ride! These are the moments you’ll want to cherish anyway.

5) Don’t wear white.

Don’t wear white, don’t put your kids in white. Not only will it make my job easier (this is something I caution clients on as a rule), but it’ll help your stress levels as well. Have your kids wear something that won’t show every stain so that they can play freely. Not having to worry about tiny hands and feet muddying your dress is also a bonus.

Have any other questions about surviving a family session with small kids? Or ideas of your own to share? Put it in the comments or shoot me an email! Junipertreephoto@gmail.com