Everyone loves cute pictures of kids, especially their kids, but let’s be honest here… children don’t always cooperate, especially for photos. It is important to work with a professional photographer that knows how to properly entertain children when photographing, while also understanding poses and promoting child photography ideas.

Moms and dads can also help at the child’s photoshoot. Here are a few tried and true tips for helping children behave during photos.

Plan Ahead!

There’s a lot that goes into our first tip. Bring 3-5 photos that you really want to get, but remember to be flexible and realistic. A 1-year-old isn’t always going to smile; a 3-year-old isn’t always going to standstill. You can still get great shots with grumpy or energetic children.

This brings me to the second part of this tip: bring snacks and toys. What’s the easiest way to make a child smile? Their favorite food or their favorite toy. Plus, everyone is less grumpy when they are full.

Next, make sure not to schedule a child photography session during nap time. Although sleepy kids can be cute, it is much better to have them fully awake and engaged in the session.

Finally, make sure to get ready at home if your child gets annoyed with clothes changes. It is easier to fix an outfit that got wrinkled during the drive than a red cheeked kiddo with teary eyes.

Set expectations!

Even little kids understand simple instructions, so explain to them what is expected. If you have multiple kids, ask the older ones to be in charge of the smaller ones, holding hands and supplying tickles for laughs. Especially at mini sessions, like the one coming up on May 8 (book here), talking to your child ahead of time helps.

Make it fun!

I mentioned bringing your child’s favorite toy earlier, but did ever think about using it as a prop? Let your child play with it to get those smiles.

Tap into their imagination by making the photo session into storytime. They are a superhero that needs to save the town by posing in certain ways.

Be silly yourself. Children love to see adults having fun. Make faces, throw leaves or snow, dance and have a blast!

Let your children decide!

Life is more fun when you have choices, right? Well, children feel the same way. Let them decide which side to stand on. Let them choose their favorite shirt. Let them pick which toy to bring. These little choices will make a big difference in your child’s demeanor for the shoot - trust me!

Bribe them!

We aren’t above a little bribery here. I can tell you that I LOVE to get ice cream after a photoshoot, and I’m sure your kids will be the same way! During the shoot, let them pick something out to hold from the background. Being told yes and having something of their own will make for a happy kid!


Children know when their parents are stressed and they may go into comforting mode or meltdown mode in reaction, so take a deep breath and RELAX. We got this! Just remember, nothing with children goes as planned, but we can always adjust the plan.

Just go with it!

This is what I mean by adjusting the plan. Just going with it. Kids will act silly. They will give angry faces. They may grab something from the studio and start playing. Just go with it. We can get some adorable, and potentially embarrassing, photos when we embrace what the child wants to do.

These tips will help your child’s photo session be a hit. And if not, read tips 6 and 7 again. I promise we will get some awesome photos… they just may not be exactly what you expected.