Family Shoots

Tips for Taking Pictures with Young Kids


Taking pictures with your family can be a daunting task, but the results are so rewarding! To help you feel relaxed and have a game plan for your next family shoot, I’ve listed some of my top tips for getting your kids ready for your family shoot.

Talk up the day and get your toddler pumped!

 When parents do this with their kids, the day tends to go a LOT better.  It’s all about the mindset for photoshoots, if you are excited and looking forward to it (which I hope you are!) then clue your kids in!  Tell your kids how much fun it will be when the photographer comes to take pictures.  Tell them how they will be playing games, eating snacks, and hanging out with you and your husband or wife and start this a few days before so they get to look forward to it for a couple of days.




Prepare some Props

Using props for pictures with young kids is a MAJOR game changer, and there are so many photogenic props that can help get your kids get excited for pictures.  Having an outdoor photoshoot?  Pick up some “special bubbles”  that you have to save for when the photographer comes.  Do your kids love watermelon or ice cream?  Those are both super photogenic foods that make for some really fun photos and make for great rewards. 



Discuss Some Rewards if Rules are Followed the Day Of

Review what the “rules” will be and how they will need to behave while they are spending time with the photographer, and what happens if they follow the rules. Remind them what their manners are, and how this is important to you and your partner. After expectations are communicated you can let them know that there may be an incentive!  For example, tell them that you may have picked up a special treat for the last part of the shoot if they use their manners and avoid crying.  Or, you could pick up a craft or a game they can play after the photoshoot is over so they have something exciting to end the night with.



 Prepping Your Outfits


I highly suggest putting outfits on your young kids as close to the photoshoot as you can.  There is nothing worse than putting an outfit on your child an hour before your shoot only to have them fall in a mud puddle or have an accident five minutes before you leave!  If your kid needs their favorite purple juice in the car on the way to our location, maybe change them in the car when you get here, or have them wear a larger Tshirt over their outfit on the way over.




Packing Ahead of Time


I always pack for my shoots the night before and it is SO helpful.  It’s so much easier to pack when I’m not rushed and when I’m not focused on what I’m about to spend my next few hours doing, so I suggest my families do the same!  Pack a bag the night before with any items you may need for your shoot.  Here is a list of some things that you may need.

-       Bug spray or Sunscreen:  If we are shooting at night its probably going to be pretty buggy, especially in a forest preserve or beach setting! Sunscreen is essential for day shoots to avoid burns!

-       Snacks and Drinks:  Make sure you pack not only for your kids but also for yourself!  Your kids may need apple juice or animal crackers, and you will probably need water or Gatorade! Nobody likes being hangry!

-       Any props we may have discussed before the shoot, get those packed ahead of time!

-       Bringing pets?  Make sure to pack for them too!  Poop bags, treats, water and leashes are all super important for the shoot!



Go With the Flow As Much as Possible

  I work with Toddlers fairly frequently between photography and working as a swim instructor. I totally get that sometimes they are just going to have a rough day, but we will set them up for as positive of an experience as we can and still have a great shoot!  They might have stubbed their toe an hour before, or skipped a nap, whatever it might be we will take it in stride and get some great shots. We will spend the first 15 minutes or so walking around, playing some games, and getting warmed up before we start adding in props and rewards. Then, get ready to have fun! I’ll do the thinking and you get to relax and spend time with your family.

Marisa Savegnago