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The Hood Magazine

Take the Stress Out of Family Photos

Sep 01, 2022 ● By The Hood Magazine

The fall season is the prime time for family photography with all the beauty our South Dakota landscape provides. But you might be one of those parents worrying about your kids not cooperating during your session. And trust me, I get it! I have two of my own, and the last thing I want to stress about is how they will act. Here are some reminders and suggestions I’ve found helpful over the years. 

  • Prep your kids in advance. 

Tell your kids about the photoshoot and what to expect. Show enthusiasm and express why they are important to you and your family. An example: “Mommy loves your smile so much, and I miss seeing it while you’re at school. I’m so excited for you to help me pick some favorites from our session and hang them on the wall so I can still see your smile when you’re not home.” We all love to feel special, so reminding them of how special they are to you can help get them excited for this shoot. 

  • Let them be involved. 

Include them and their ideas during the session. Ask them what will make them feel happy during the session. What short, interactive game would they like to play? For younger children, it can be fun to play duck, duck, goose with the family and give each child the opportunity to be the ‘goose.’ When children feel involved, they’re much more willing to participate. As a bonus, these types of photos bring out natural, playful smiles! 

  • Bring some backups. 

Make sure you’re well prepared for photoshoot day. Bring along a change of clothes, snacks, their favorite toy, water, and diapers. That way, even if the unexpected happens, you’ll be ready for it! But let’s chat about what kind of snacks & drinks for a moment. Steer far away from colored candy and drinks. Trust me, you don’t want blue teeth in the photos. Some appropriate snack ideas include small packets of goldfish crackers, trail mix (with no M&M’s), dissolvable puffs or cheerios, water, and apple juice. Basically, anything that will not stain fingers, clothes, and teeth. 

  • Make it fun! 

Don’t be too serious during the session; let them have fun. The candid shots from that authenticity truly make for the best photos. Plan on doing something fun after the session so they look forward to the outing all day, like grabbing ice cream or going to the park. 

Trying to control the environment can be super stressful for all parties. If the kids are running around and your patience grows short, they will feed off that energy, which shows through the camera. Try to relax, let them play around, and burn off some excess energy. This can be an excellent time for the photographer to capture some of just mom & dad or individuals of the other kids. In my sessions, I often shoot when you least expect it to capture the genuine authenticity of your family, and those truly make for the best photos! 

S. Kay Photography is proud to partner with The ‘hood Magazine for cover photos. To learn more about Stephany, contact her at [email protected] or visit her website at