Tips to Prepare Kids for Photo Sessions

Family Photography

How to Prepare Kids for Photos

Getting young kids ready for photos isn’t something most parents are excited about! However, as a family photographer and a mom with young kids of my own, I have found a few tips to help prepare kids for photo sessions that help immensely!  Some of these suggestions might need to be modified depending on how old your kiddo is, but overall they can be applied to any age. 

Mom and Big sis look at baby during mom + me session

Tips to Prepare Kids for Photo Sessions

01. Talk about your photos 

Once your family photo session has been scheduled you can begin to prepare your kids! Most moms worry about what everyone will wear, but I assure you that keeping it neutral and simple is best. For more tips on choosing your clothing, as well as other tips to plan your photos session, you can check out my blog post about why Location, time of day, and clothing are most important when planning a photo session. 

I suggest about a week to 5 days before your session to start talking about it with your kids. Tell them you are going to have photos taken. If it will be at a familiar location, tell them so they know ahead of time. Start talking to them about how a photographer will be there to take pictures of their big smiles!  You can also get them in on the action too! Ask them if they have a favorite pose or something they’d like to incorporate in the photos, within reason! Ha! Allow them to ask any questions and alleviate any nervousness they might have, if any. 

mom holds kids sitting in TN field during Mom + Me Session by Grace Paul Photography

02. Fill those bellies 

Tip number two is crucial. If you only take one tip away from this blog, let it be this one: Fill those bellies before the session. This might be hard depending on the time of day your session falls. If you have an early sunrise session and don’t have time for an all out breakfast, pack bags of Cheerios, crackers, fruit, or an on-the-go breakfast bar. Alternatively, if your session is later in the day around sunset, you will want to eat an early dinner, as these sessions usually fall during normal dinner hours. 

If it is a newborn session, same rules apply! 

02.1 Bonus tip:

Regardless of how much they eat before your session, bring more snacks for during the session, just in case! The fuller their tummies are, the happier they will be and the more likely they will smile and just have fun. 

Mom and son watch big sister's ballet moves during candid family moment

03.  Be Well Rested

Depending on the age of your children, this tip is also very important. If you kid is 3-4 or under, make sure they have a good night’s sleep before your sunrise session, or have a nap before your sunset session.  Being overtired and/or hungry is a recipe for disaster whether you are having photos taken or not!  If your kids are older and no longer napping, it is still crucial that they are well rested, especially if it is a sunrise session!

little girl plays at park during Nashville family photos

04. Special Treats

 Offering a special treat or reward is never a bad idea in my book! Sometimes knowing there is an ice cream cone in their future is all the motivation kids need.  However, it doesn’t have to be food related. You could have other rewards for them after the session. I will admit food is usually my go-to! Mainly because even if we ate an early dinner, or an on the go breakfast, by the time pictures are over we could all use a snack or a pick-me-up! 

If you want some great recommendations for kid-friendly restaurants you can view my blog that features my Top Six Kid-Friendly Restaurants to eat at after your photo session.

My last tip to prepare kids for photo sessions is really more for you, the parent. 

mom hugs two young children during spring Brentwood family portraits

05. Keep it Simple + Don’t Stress

At the end of the day, whether your kid cries the whole time or is a total ham, it is OKAY!  I assure you, we will capture amazing photos!  The more you stress out, the more your kids will probably stress out as they feed off that energy. As a family photographer, I want pictures to be a joyful experience, before you even arrive! I don’t want my clients stressing about outfits or their kids behavior.  Let them be kids!  

Nashville family photos with Grace Paul Photography while toddler plays

I hope these tips help you prep your kids for photos! Please contact me and let me know if you found these tips helpful, or if you have one to add!  I am here to help you and make your photo session the best experience possible for your family.  

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