Outdoor sessions are great for capturing images of lively children at their best, I like to keep them active in a fun outdoor family photography session. We will spend our time exploring and photographing your family and I try not to say “Cheese” – when the kids are having fun then we get the real and natural smiles. Outdoor sessions are also great for maternity portraits for couples waiting for their first child, or second third fourth or fifth! You can choose a place that is special to you or I can suggest local locations that look great according to the time of year.

You’ve booked your family photo shoot, and you can’t wait to have some gorgeous new photographs of you all together. Photographs that capture your children’s personalities, where they’re smiling, and actually looking at the camera!

Then you start to wonder what happens if they aren’t their best selves on the day. What happens if the cheekiest parts of their personalities start to come out? What happens if they don’t cooperate with the photographer?

Rest assured that you’re not alone in having these concerns. In fact, as a mum and a family photographer I fully expect your children to ‘have a moment’ on a shoot, especially if they’re of infant school age or younger. Children of this age don’t usually grasp the value of having professional photographs taken, how precious these pictures will be to them in years to come, and so it can be difficult for them to understand why they have to have them taken. 

However, I’m sure that you will want to ensure that your children are prepared to have the best shoot possible. Based on my experience of seeing other families prepare their children for a photo shoot, there are certain things that you can do to ensure your children are at their best. 

Preparing Babies and Toddlers For A Photo Shoot

The most important thing for babies and toddlers is to make sure that they are well fed and well rested before the session. Scheduling the shoot during a regular nap time probably won’t give you the best results. If for some reason the session has to overlap with a regular nap or meal time, try to bring it forward to just before your shoot so that your child is well rested and well fed beforehand. If you’re worried about your child becoming hungry or thirsty during the shoot do bring drinks and snacks along to the shoot. If you can see that your child needs a break then just ask the photographer if you can pause for a moment whilst they have their food or drink.

Preparing Older Children For A Family Photo Shoot

If you have older children I recommend doing some work beforehand to ‘frame’ the shoot as a positive experience. Talk to them about the session in a positive way in the days leading up to it.

Tell them the photographer’s name, and show them a photo of the photographer (if you’re having a shoot with me you can show them the photograph on my Facebook page or the ones on my about page.) Let them know how long the shoot will take, and what will happen whilst they’re there.

It can be helpful to discuss a treat that will happen after the shoot; I often see parents remind their children about the treat during a shoot, and it’s a great way to keep them focussed. Some of the treats I’ve heard about over the last six months include a Kinder Egg, watching Frozen, going to see Santa and lunch at a favourite cafe.

Just as with babies and toddlers, make sure your children are not hungry. If the shoot is going to overlap with a regular mealtime for them you might want to offer them a snack beforehand. It’s a good idea to bring some snacks and drinks with you to the shoot too in case your little one gets hungry whilst you’re there.

I know that investing in professional photographs of your family is something you’ve considered carefully; no doubt you’ll want to do everything you can to make sure that your children are on good form, and captured at their best. It’s only natural for any parent to worry about their children having a wobble during a shoot, and as a mum I understand this completely. In fact, it’s very common but everything will be fine!