How To Prepare Your Kids For A Photo Session

Children are unpredictable, and photography sessions can seem hard to prepare for. Clinton and Jill's session was so loving and genuine, even if sometimes little big brother Oliver wanted nothing to do with being photographed. Their newborn baby girl, Eleanor, was content and wonderful. 

To help my clients keep their stress levels down when preparing for a session like this, I’ve put together some helpful hints. Reading these over and following them will be sure to help you feel completely informed, and to reduce your stress levels before and during your photo session.

Scheduling is key. You'll want to ensure your little ones are rested and happy, so make sure your session takes place before or after nap time.

Give them a pep talk. Tell your child the day before your session that I'll be photographing the two of you as you play, not pose. There's nothing to be nervous about, and that I have toys here in the studio I'm excited to share with them.

Bring something they love from home. It may be a book, a family photo album or a favourite stuffed animal, preferable neutral in colour. This can help your little ones feel at home and more comfortable in a new space.

It's ok to be a little early or late. You have a little one now, so I expect that you'll be running behind. That's one of the reasons I don't schedule more than one full session a day. Taking time to love your kids, meet their needs and calm their tantrums is more important today than showing up at 9:30 am on the dot.

Tell them something you'll do together afterward. This can be a special song you sing in the van on the way home, being allowed to sleep in a fort you built together, a dance party, or even a special snack. Get creative and it'll make the experience even more special.

Be patient. It can be really challenging to keep your cool while parenting during a portrait session. Trust me, I have the same thing. I know what my kids are capable of, and when they misbehave in front of others I get frustrated too. Just for today, for this hour, let it go. Allow your kids to run the show (within reason) and you'll have better images.

Let me do my job. Allow me to interact with your little ones during our photo shoot, introduce myself and take time to play. There's no need to remind your little ones to smile, I'll take care of that. That connection they have with me will make your photography experience and your images so much better!


"Karen was very professional and handled well the challenges presented by our 2-yr old wanting nothing to do with the photo session. She lets the photos come organically and the shoot doesn't feel forced. She is flexible and lets you do what you want. Thanks for the great pictures!" - Clinton & Jill Klamer