My TOP 5 tips for making your family photo shoot with children easier

If you’re preparing for a family photo shoot with your children, you may be feeling a bit on edge. Children, especially toddlers aren’t always easy to deal with on a good day, never mind when you're trying to get them to do something they don't necessarily want to do.

I've had lots of experience dealing with families and children during their family photo shoots here in Perth, Western Australia. I've compiled some of my TOP TIPS for getting through the lead up to your shoot and the photo shoot itself.

1. Don't make a big deal out of it

If you're stressed out and moody, your children will usually pick up on it and act up. If you're relaxed, your kids will usually be more relaxed too. You may have to make some compromises to keep the peace. Is it SO important that your daughter wears the blue hair tie instead of the sparkly one she wants to wear. Focus on the big picture and don't sweat the small stuff. After all, family photos are a snap shot of your family in THIS moment. I've had a family turn up with their daughter in a "Frozen" dress cos she would not happily wear anything else, and that's ok! Happy kids equal happy families and that's what counts.

2. Make it fun

Letting them know you're going to have some fun having photos taken, rather than threatening them with punishment if they don't smile is always going to be a better idea! When you arrive, I'll tell the kids we're going to have some fun playing games and cuddling up together. If you're offering a bribe, such as ice cream afterwards, please let me know so I can play on that too. My shoots are not about bribing your children to smile. That rarely ever looks good. I'm usually making poo and fart jokes to get genuine reactions! Sometimes that reaction is serious, and that's also ok.

A studio newborn sibling photo shoot with four smiling brothers

3. Be prepared

Make sure the kids are well rested and have had their usual nap before the shoot. Outdoor shoots unavoidable take place in the hour before sunset, which can be a tricky time for young families. In my experience the shoot goes well regardless of the time of day where the kids are well fed and well rested. Bring snacks for toddlers, just in case, and water for the whole family. It's EXTREMELY important to dress the kids for the weather. Better to pack that extra layer, in case it chills off near sunset. Cold kids are MISERABLE! Trust me on this.

4. Be patient

Save your sanity and let me control the session. No one can make a stubborn toddler smile if he doesn't want to, but remember that the photo shoot is a snap shot of your family on that day. let me talk to the kids and try to draw them out. Yelling at them to smile or do something you want them to doesn't help at all and can have the opposite effect. Let me know about things that your kids like to talk about and their interests, and also about any bribes your previously discussed.

5. Have a chat

Please let me know about things that your kids like to talk about and their interests, and also about any bribes your previously discussed. If your child is really into a particular TV character, let me know on your questionnaire. It gives me something to chat to your children about besides making poo and fart jokes, and builds our relationship so that they feel more comfortable with me during the shoot. If you're going for ice cream after the shoot, I can use that for leverage!

Thanks so much for reading my top tips for making your family photo shoot with children easier. For some tips about how to choose your family's outfits check out this blog post.

An asian family of four walking along a jetty in South Perth at sunset for a photo shoot
A family of 5 playing in a field at sunset for a family photo shoot in Perth, Western Australia