Family photos with little ones can feel stressful and it’s easy to understand why! You want the best family photos that capture the absolute best memories in the most beautiful way… but toddlers and young kids can be a little unpredictable, to put it nicely.
As a mom myself, and as a family photographer who loves working with young kids, I’ve learned a few things over the years to make family sessions a little bit easier. Successful family photos come from preparing your kids for photos - and it’s much easier than you think!
Here are some of my favorite tips for parents to prepare for a fun photo session with young kids.
PRIORITIZE NAPS THAT DAY!
There is nothing that can derail a session more than a tired toddler. Naps and good sleep are so important for little ones. While no one really functions well on no sleep, young kids are completely unpredictable when running on fumes. Make sure you prioritize a good night's sleep the night before and make sure you prioritize naps the day of your session. If your session time is earlier or later, make sure you adjust the nap schedule appropriately. Be sure to stick with your normal routines when putting them down so they don't sense any stress or tension. Keep everything calm.
MAKE SURE EVERYONE HAS FULL TUMMIES.
Just like a lack of sleep, a hangry little one can wreak havoc on your dreams of a fun and beautiful photo session. Make sure you prepare for your session in advance by making sure everyone is fed and happy (this includes you too!). Trust me: smiles come way easier when everyone is feeling full!
CHOOSE A FUN FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER.
This one is obvious but make sure you are choosing a family photographer that is known for working well with younger kids. Choose photographers with a more play-based approach. You will often find this with lifestyle photographers. By incorporating play and fun into the session, it's easier to make the session more fun and engaging for children and get more genuine and natural photos. PS I'd love to work with your family! If you are looking for a Pittsburgh family photographer, check out my sessions and pricing or contact me today.
MAKE SURE CLOTHES ARE COMFORTABLE.
There is nothing worse than itchy clothes or uncomfortable shoes. This applies to everyone but most important for little ones, especially those that can't verbalize if they are uncomfortable. Instead of telling us they aren't comfortable, it will come across as moody and irritated. You can avoid any last minute surprises by trying clothes on in advance.
Make sure the clothes are just comfortable but they are seasonally appropriate too. If your little one is too cold or too hot, this will also work against us for your session. I’m all about layering your looks for family photos - it makes it way easier to adjust if someone’s too warm or cold.
SET THE TONE FOR A RELAXED SESSION.
Kids have a way to pick up on the vibes and feeling of a situation. For everyone’s sake -- keep calm. This will help set the tone for a relaxed and fun session. If you are stressed or have a high level of anxiety, your children will pick up on it.
Instead, relax and enjoy your photo session. The right photographer will give you the space to simply enjoy your family while they capture beautiful images.
PREPARE YOUR LITTLE ONES IN ADVANCE.
Anxiety and fears can come out in a photo session whenever your child doesn't know what to expect. To prevent this, make sure you are preparing them in advance and age appropriately. If they understand, you can get them excited for your photo session by telling them what they will be doing. Keep them engaged by telling them how they get to be a model or they will be going on an adventure -- whatever to peak their interest. If they tend to be more shy, prepare them by showing them a picture of the photographer to warm them up prior to the session. It can be scary to have someone in your face with a big camera, so let your little ones know that’s what will be happening!
BRING A NO-FAIL BACKUP JUST IN CASE.
Younger children that have a hard time warming up or aren't having the best day will always benefit with something that comforts them. This could be a mid-session snack or even a lovie. Reserve these backup options to help get the session back on track if needed. Besides - getting to capture them with their favorite stuffed animal will be memorable to capture for your season and fun to look back on.
Life with little ones can easily be described as a beautiful chaos. While life spins a little, there is so much beauty in the moments. These are the moments we will all miss so dearly in years to come. Don't skip family photos during these early years and embrace the chaos of the moments. Choose a fun family photographer, prepare yourself for success in advance and then simply enjoy your session. Even if it doesn't go as planned, a great family photographer will capture moments you didn't even know were happening.
If you are looking to do family photos in Pittsburgh, I'd love to work with your family. Let's connect today and start planning your session!
Life moves too fast. Although we can't slow it down, we can record the moments that fill our hearts and tell our story through photos and films. I am a Pittsburgh family photographer and film maker that helps families record their stories and pause some of life's greatest moments.
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