Over the last few years, I have been quite regular with having my kid’s pictures taken. I have had great sessions, and I have had horrible. Now that this is the time for myself and most families to be getting their photos taken, I thought it would be great to share some tips on how to make sure your photo session goes smooth!

..or as smooth as it can!

Before your session:

The Photographer- Start with reserving a well-known photographer who you are comfortable with. Be sure they are trained in dealing with another person’s kids. The last thing you want to do is use a photographer who photographs homes and has no idea what to do when your child won’t sit still. If you’re using someone new, check out their website, or any social media accounts they might have. Not sure if they are online? Just ask! A great photographer should be more than happy to show off their work. When scheduling your session, be clear on the style of photos you want to have and let the photographer know if you would like to use any props. Also, choose your appointment time based on the time your children nap and have a large meal.

Once you land a photographer you love, try to use them for all of your children’s future photo’s. The more they see the photographer, the more comfortable they will be with him/her.

Location- Most photographers have great indoor studios with backdrops and props. If your child is more active, book your session outdoors! You can get some great candid shots of your little one running around. If you do an outdoor theme, your photographer should be able to recommend some great parks. However, be sure there are NO play structures in sight. Do I even need to say what will happen when you ask your child to be still and smile when there are 12 kids hanging on monkey bars and swinging on swings? Didn’t think so. If your child doesn’t enjoy walking on grass, plan on bringing him/her shoes. Ask the photographer to bring along Blankets or items for your child to sit on as well.

Wardrobe- Keep it Simple. Less is More. It is what every photographer is thinking, but doesn’t want to say. Coordinate your child’s clothing to the Season! If your shooting outdoors bring a few backup outfits just in case the weather changes. You don’t want your child to be too cold, or too hot. Most photographers should comply when it comes to rescheduling because of Mother Nature. If your daughter doesn’t enjoy headbands on her head, she isn’t going to miraculously keep it on for the photos. If she doesn’t enjoy being in big tulle dresses, she isn’t going to sit pretty and pose in one either. Practice wearing the outfits you’ve chosen for your children to be sure they are comfortable or to get them used to the idea. I don’t recommend doing too many outfit changes, it tends to tire the kids out. I would keep it at a maximum of three outfits. If you have any more than that, I would schedule them for different days.

The Day of your session:

Before heading out to meet your photographer, be sure your children have napped, eaten and used the potty if need be. That nap time is so crucial. If your child oversleeps or doesn’t nap at their usual time, let the photographer know you will be running late. They should be understanding and be accommodating. Waking them up, or not letting them get a nap at all is a recipe for disaster. A 20-minute cat nap on the drive over will not suffice.

What to Take- Take the essentials you would normally use on a day out with your child. Extra snacks will come in handy. However, the snacks should be used as a last resort or during a “break”. Chances are once the snack bag comes out, everybody wants something and the pictures don’t resume until the bag is empty. So pull the snacks out one at a time if needed. Don’t forget to throw on a bib, and have baby wipes ready to wipe down any mess! Avoid handing your child an iPhone or Ipad. I mean, do you really want that in the picture? Oh, and guess what happens when you try to take it away. I’m pretty sure you guessed right! Avoid bringing your own toys as well. I find using the photographer’s props that go with the setting have been plenty distraction for the kids. Your own soccer ball or Barbie doll could throw off the entire look that you’re going for.

Keep it short- 2 hours should be the maximum time your child is spending in front of the camera. You don’t need 47 pictures of your child in the same outfit, doing the same thing. Keep it moving. Trust the photographer when they say they got all the shots they needed. The longer your child is being told what to do, the closer you will be to a meltdown.

When and if a meltdown does occur, keep your composure, Mom. If your calm, your child will calm down much sooner. Don’t be embarrassed, don’t stress it, and don’t freak out. It is totally normal. Yelling at your child will only make things worse. Kids are just kids. Don’t get caught up in over-analyzing and comparing your children’s photos to others. Every kid is different. Some of those kids you saw on Pinterest were probably paid models or children to parents we’ve seen on Toddlers and Tiaras.

With all that being said, let’s all take a moment to pray everything goes as planned for my kids Christmas session next week! I included a gallery with some of the best photos my girls have taken over time! All of the photos were taken by Lisa of Cloud 9 Photography



All Photos by Lisa of Cloud 9 Photography

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