Preparing Your Family for Portraits

When it comes to taking pictures of kids, I have been extremely lucky to have had great subjects in front of my camera. There may have been one or two that made me work a little harder and I had to pull out a couple of tricks but that is to be expected. I have to give most of the credit to the parents though. Getting their kids to the session was half the battle! I think even if you’re not a parent you know this all too well…children can march to the beat of their own drum and at any time they want to. So here are just a few tips to help you and yours get to, and through, your portrait session.



Adults can tell when they didn’t get enough sleep. Usually, an extra large cup of coffee is at the top of the to-do list in the morning. Or, morning traffic seems extra annoying. By the time three o’clock rolls around they’re moving slower and yawning more. With kids, it’s a little different. Depending on their age they may not be able to tell you they’re sleepy or tired and the only way parents know it’s time for a nap is after a tantrum. Your kids might even have a sleep pattern. When booking a session with yours truly, remember to choose a time when you know your child would have had the best rest. Something to also consider is maybe your kids aren’t morning people. Consider scheduling a session in late afternoon. In the photography world this time of day is often referred to as the “golden hour” because sunset pictures can be beautiful!



You can probably figure this one out as well. Same as sleep, kids can get pretty grumpy when they’re hungry. And if we’re being honest, so can I! If you decide to feed your kids consider choosing something light that will hold their tummies over until after the session. Fruits and veggies are a healthy choice, just make sure they’re not wearing their picture outfits since some of those can get messy.  You don’t want them to spill anything on their new clothes before they’ve been photographed in them. Bringing along some dry snacks like crackers and something to sip on is a good idea in case they get a little ‘hangry’. Along with napkins or baby wipes, I think your family will be set!



Speaking of new outfits, you’ll want to pick out clothes that are comfortable for both you and the kids. Make sure accessories fit well. Ties, belts, suspenders, and hats are all cute but when too tight or loose, they can distract your child and may even irritate them and cause them to be fussy. I should also add that IF they do start to get uncomfortable I’ll take advantage of getting some natural shots before they get fussy. For example, I might snap a pic of your little guy trying to loosen his tie or putting loose suspenders back over his shoulders. I might even capture your baby girl hiding behind her hat or playing with the ribbon in her hair. We’ll make it work!

Smiling for the camera


I love cheese! Especially on burgers and nachos, and in even in my salads. I gotta have it! But for pictures, the word cheese doesn’t create a genuine smile for the camera. With the main goal being to capture your happiness, here are a few pointers for getting genuine smiles.

I know a few words that made my kiddos giggle when they were little and chances are you know a few to get your babies smiling. Feel free to send a list of these silly words to your photographer so you won’t forget. It would also be a great way for me to connect with your children without losing any momentum during the session.

Kids love to be silly! So take advantage of that and have them practice making silly faces. You could have them practice while getting dressed. Use the drive to your session to take turns making silly faces and vote on your favorites. The goal is to get that genuine laugh from your child and I’ll be ready to snap! I love to be silly too so expect me to be goofy and maybe do a little silly dancing. I might even to a little tap dance!


Bag of tricks


Think of your bag of tricks as your back up plan. Bring your child’s favorite toy or book. Maybe even a change of clothes. I would also consider bribery but as a last result. Hey, I have kids so I know that works sometimes! All of these can be life savers in different situations.


Expect the unexpected. It still may not go exactly as planned but the most important thing to remember is to go with the flow. These are just a few tips to help your family and I work together to have a great session!

Ready to book? Shoot me an email at I look forward to working with you!


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