Skip to main content

The Hood Magazine

How to Prepare for Family Photos

Jun 28, 2023 ● By The Hood Magazine

Family photo season is just about here. If you are wanting to make the most out of your photo session this year, take a look at what our cover photographer has to say below! She is sharing the inside scoop on how to make your next photography session a breeze...

Provided by: S. Kay Photography

You might be worrying about your kid(s) not cooperating during our time, together? Trust me, I get it! I've got two of my own and the last thing I want, whenever we get our own photos taken, is to stress about their cooperation (or lack there of) the whole time. 

I brought some of these tips up, as a bonus, within the wardrobe guide, but here are some reminders & more detailed suggestions that I've found to be the most helpful, over the years that I've been serving my clients:

  • PREP YOUR KIDS IN ADVANCE. Tell your kids about the photoshoot well ahead of time. Tell them what to expect. Let them know how much you’re looking forward to it and why your family is doing it. If you’re excited, they’ll definitely catch your enthusiasm!
    • ​Do not be afraid to tell them how HAPPY it will make you feel to be able to look at their beautiful smiles on the wall or at the office when you're not around them. ie: "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 up on the wall, so I can still see your smile when you're not home." - we all love to feel loved & 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? Do they like duck, duck goose? For smaller children, it can be SO fun to play duck, duck goose with the family and give each each kiddo the opportunity to be the 'goose'. When children feel involved, they’re much more willing to participate. ALSO - 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 (just in case!), plenty of snacks, their favorite stuffy, toy or blanky, water, diapers, etc. That way, even if the unexpected happens, you’ll be ready for it! 
    • ​But let's chat about what KIND of snacks & drinks. Steer FAR away from colored candy and drinks. If you let your child have colored candy and/or drinks before and during their session, their mouth and teeth will reflect those colors. Trust me, you don't want blue teeth in the photos.
      • Inappropriate Snacks/Drinks: Doritos, Cheetos, Gatorade/Powerade, fruit punches, kool-aid, any colored candies/suckers
      • Some more appropriate Ideas: small packets of gold fish crackers, club crackers, dissolvable puffs for the smaller kiddos, water, apple juice etc. -  basically anything that will not stain fingers, clothes and teeth.
  • MAKE IT FUN! Make photoshoot day a special occasion! Don't be too serious during the session, and let them have fun - the candids 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.
    • ​Suggestions to look forward to: a trip to the toy store, ice cream shop, or even simply some time at the park to let them wind down from the session

I cannot stress that last one, enough -- DON'T BE TOO SERIOUS.

Trying to control the environment can be super stressful for all parties. If the kiddos are running around and your patience grows short, they will feed off that energy - and energy shows through the camera!

Relax! Let them play around and burn off some of that excess energy - this can be a great time for me to capture some of just mom & dad or individuals of the other kiddo(s). I will usually try and make it a game to get them back into the photos with authentic smiles. Remember - if we're forcing a smile ... it LOOKS forced, and that's not what our goal is.