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How to Prepare for a Children’s Photo Session

Updated: Jan 10

Mom and daughter pose with girl on fence for mother daughter photo shoot.

Gigi was in a great mood for our photo session with mom Cara which made for some great candid shots.

Photographing children can be one of the funnest sessions I do but also one of the most challenging. To avoid the challenges, there are things the photographer and parent can both do to be prepared for a smooth children’s photo session.

As the photographer, I like to start out a child’s session relating to the child and building a good rapport with them. The more comfortable the child is with me, the more likely they will be themselves in front of the camera. Children are best photographed being candid as their short attention spans make it hard to get posed shots. I also use props such as stuffed animals, bubbles and a shutterhugger on my camera (see photo below).

In addition to the photographer’s tricks, it also helps if the parent does a few things to make the session go smoother as well. So if you are thinking of having your child photographed by a professional photographer, keep in mind the following bits of advice.

1. Make sure your child gets enough rest the night before the photo session. Very important! Probably the most important thing actually.  A tired child is usually a cranky child and this will make for a difficult session and not-so-great photos. You will be making the most of your time if your child is well-rested!

2. Schedule your photo session at a time of day when you know your child is usually in a good mood. This is pretty basic but needs to be said. If your child is not a morning person, schedule an afternoon session. If the photographer does not have anything available, wait for when they do. Otherwise your time just may be wasted.

3. Bring several different outfits for your child. I recommend a couple casual outfits and a nicer one if you want that look as well. It is always best to have a backup outfit for each look in case your child gets dirt on their clothes or if some other unforseen accident should happen.

4. Make sure your child eats before the session because this too can cause crankiness or moodiness. Also, it is a good idea to bring snacks and drinks in case your child gets hungry or thirsty during the session. Snacks can also be a good way to reward (or bribe) your child for good behavior during the session!

5. Bring a favorite toy or two that you know will bring a smile to your child’s face. A favorite stuffed animal is also good for comforting a child who is having a hard time being photographed.

Mom kisses her toddler girl as she plays with a photographer's camera

This monkey shutterhugger helps entertain and keep children’s gaze on the lens.

With all that said, no matter how much you prepare, sometimes a child may still have a temper tantrum or meltdown and the session may need to be rescheduled. I had that happen this past Christmas with my friend’s daughter. We tried to get her to calm down so we could finish the session, however, it didn’t work and we had to reschedule. Don’t be embarrassed if this happens with your child. It is a fact of life and every photographer has had this happen at least once!

If you enjoyed reading this blog, please share on one of your favorite social sites by clicking on the share icons below this post. If you would like to schedule a photo session for your child, click here to contact me.

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