5 Tips for a Stress Free Session with Your Child

5 pointers to a stress free session with young children

As a Newborn, Children and Family photographer, I have learned over the years how to keep children happy and capture their many personalities with little stress.  Yes there are always children who just don’t want to be in front of the camera and those are the children I get to forget about the camera.   Fortunately there are some steps we can take to prepare your child for a wonderful session without them realizing what you are doing. These starts before you arrive for your session.  Whether it is a session focused on them or your entire family.  I am going to give you 5 pointers to make your next session with your child less stressful for you and easier on your photographer resulting in you receiving a successful round of images.

1.      A good night sleep!

Just like you, if your child doesn’t get the sleep they need they are going to be cranky and less likely to cooperate.  If he or she takes naps still have their session early in the morning or 1 hour after their nap.  This way you have time to get them ready and they are less likely to have a tantrum.

2.      Feed your child before arriving

Yes, I know this sounds obvious but sometime we get in a hurry and say oh we will eat after words.  The day of your session make it a priority.  Don’t only feed your child feed yourself.  If you have to bring a snack this would be a good idea as well.  When planning your session I will ask you if your child is allergic to anything and what their favorite snack is, so I can have something if they get hungry during the session or even after the session with your permission.

3.      Avoid telling your child to smile

Please I beg you do not tell your child you want them to smile for their pictures.  This is sure to get you the fake smiles or a frown for every picture.  You could say are you ready to go have fun.  Ms./Mr.  Is going to play games and have fun.  I bring bubbles to the session with me and give the children small jobs to get them to interact with you or me during the session.  This could be small things from blowing on a dandelion flower, hiding a leaf or bringing you something.  These are all great ways to get your child to be themselves.  The key is to get them excited about their session and let them know what to expect.  When working with older children just telling them you want them to be themselves and have fun is good enough and then it is your photographers’ job to know how to get children to be themselves.

4.      Plan around their mood

You know your child.  Some children are great in the morning others are not morning birds.  Meaning they are their grumpiest in the morning.  When planning your session go based on their natural mood schedule.  If your child is in their best mood before noon, schedule your session for in the morning.  If they have to sleep late or always wake up in a mood in the morning but seem to be happier in the afternoon then plan a pm session.  This will help you have a peaceful session and will more than likely give your child a good experience. We all have bad days so you may plan around your child’s session around their mood and still have a break down but you can either take a break or let them gather themselves or reschedule.  When a photographer works with children they work on kid time.

5.      Dress them for the weather!

Mindful Light Photography

Have you ever dressed for a warm day and ended up freezing within an hour.  Well children have a habit of not letting us know when they are getting cold or hot.  We have to plan this.  If you are having an outdoor session and it is hot talk to your photographer on how you should dress your child.  If it is going to be cold layer with a sweater and scarf.  I would have a pair of nice shorts and a polo shirt or button down short sleeve shirt for summer and a long sleeve button down shirt under a sweeter for winter.  I bring battery operated fans for summer sessions and hand warmers for winter.  It is amazing how much fun children can have with these playing hide and seek is fun so we don’t see the items. 


With these ideas your photographer can also provide you some other ways and pointers as to how to prepare for your child’s session.  These are just a couple that can help.  Remember the goal is to have a stress free, fun session to capture your child and their best personalities.  Yes there are times you aren’t going to have a successful session but this pointers can help.  Also a bonus pointer: if your child has a lovie bring it to your session it will help them get comfortable and help them relax.  Also it would be a great opportunity to get a memorable moment preserved of their childhood with an item that is meaningful to them.  So get ready for some wonderful memories and have fun!

If you find this helpful or would like to share this with your friends please do. 

Also share your ideas or pointers of what you have found helpful when having your child’s pictures done.