March 29, 2022

Family Photos FAQ #1: How to Get Kids to Cooperate During a Session

It's Photo Time!


One of the MOST asked questions when I'm consulting with a family before their photos are "What if my kids don't cooperate?" Having two young boys myself, that is a TOTALLY understandable and relatable question!! I completely understand that when you book a family session, a LOT goes into planning. Outfits, location, weather and family dynamics all play a part.

Keep reading for three tried and true tricks to make your photo session stress free and FUN!!

Plan on Having Fun


I know...this seems so much easier said that done when you've spent so much time planning!! But seriously, I want your session to be FUN. I want you to look back on the day you had your photos and remember good things and funny things!! Leave everything to me! I will get to know your kids by engaging with them right off the bat. I will show them the back of my camera to let them know how adorable they are and get them to laugh before we even start. Funny things are bound to happen that will ensure you always remember your session!!

I remember when we had some Christmas photos taken with a friend at a local tree farm a few years ago. We were doing a photo swap and of course our youngest fell on the cement on the way to the car. If he had only made it about 30 more steps, we would have been fine...but you know how life with a toddler can quickly change! If you've been following me for a bit on FB or other blog posts, you know where this story is going. We were quickly losing light and had a 45 minute drive. He rode the entire way with a towel covered in blood from his scraped face. Thank goodness he wasn't seriously injured but those surface scrapes sure do look bad. Looking back, the photo shoot was fun and now we can think about it and laugh because kids will be kids!!

Remember that it's OK for the Session to be Child Led...


Myself included, I know how easy it is to want to be in control of the session. You want your children to smile perfectly and be on their best behavior. But don't worry...I've got you covered!! I come prepared with shots that we will absolutely get. But I like to keep the tone fun and light. If kids don't feel like posing for a certain shot, it's OK! We will come back to it. Maybe they just need a little break and I can follow them for a bit. Maybe they like to kick rocks...or play in water. Those do make for some AMAZING candids!!! Giving the kids a break lets us have time for some "mom and dad" photos. Wouldn't it be nice to have a new photo of just the two of you? Parents often tell me they haven't had any photos of the two of them since their wedding...let's change that! It's definitely time for a new one!!

The last time we were in Florida, I hired a photographer for some beach photos. I planned our outfits and prepared for the session. Things were going ok until our youngest (see a pattern with him? LOL) decided he was absolutely NOT going to take his water shoes off. Oh for the LOVE of all things....so it was either leave them on and have a happy child or watch the session go downhill quickly with a crying child. So I lost the battle with the shoes and he kept them on. Did it stop me from hanging those photos on our walls? Absolutely not!! I adore those photos and we look at them every day and are reminded of how much fun that vacation was....water shoes and all!!

Bring Bribes


Every once in awhile, a bribe is needed to make the session go better. I try to have the parents hold off until it's ABSOLUTELY necessary but there is nothing wrong with trading some fruit snacks for some smiles!! My best advice on bribes? Something non-sticky like bite sized cookies or gummy bears. Something that won't get stuck in their teeth too...blueberries and strawberries are awesome but they are hard to get out on short notice! Chocolates, drinks and pouches are things that are easily spilled onto cute little outfits so I try to have parents avoid those if possible. For older kiddos, promising something after the session like taking them for ice cream or having a special family movie night at home is always a hit too!

It's All About the Fun!

A fun session for your family is my #1 priority!! Making memories that you can cherish forever and hang on your walls is such an amazing feeling! You get to watch your kids grow and change and have that moment frozen in time to see every day. I hope you enjoyed these three tips for getting kids to cooperate! With spring time (hopefully) upon us, I can't wait to see your family and get the photos you're been dreaming of! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to me by clicking the link below!