photo collage of a family with newborn baby at Lafreniere Park by Sarah Finicle Photography

8 Effective Ways to Prepare Your Kids for a Family Photo Session


Do you have an upcoming photo session scheduled for your family? Wondering how to prepare your kiddos for the big day? Family photos are so important to have, but maybe you're feeling overwhelmed and stressed out about your kids misbehaving, whining, or worse - throwing wild tantrums and screaming like a banshee while the photographer tries to capture any sign of a smile. (If this sounds like your kiddos, don't worry. I always manage to capture adorable family photos despite any mood your child decides upon come photo day)! If you want some easy tips on how to prepare for the best possible outcome for your portraits, here are eight effective ways to prepare your kids for a family photo session, which will help to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for everyone!

1. Pack the Night Before

First things first: make sure to prepare everything you'll need the night before the photo session! Lay out all of your outfits, pack extra clothes, and ensure you have all necessary items in your take along/diaper bags. Being organized in advance alleviates stress on the day of the shoot. Read on for more suggestions on what items pack up the night before.

2. Morning Routines

Start the day calmly with your usual morning routine. Make sure your kids have a good night's sleep to wake up refreshed. Stick to familiar routines for meals and activities to create a sense of normalcy. Ensure that you and your partner wake up well before the children in order to prepare better and lessen the chaos of everyone getting ready all at once.

3. Bring Lots of Snacks

This is THE most important aspect of ensuring your family photos are an enjoyable experience! Pack a variety of no-spill snacks and drinks for your kids. Make sure they are WELL fed before the session, and additionally, bring along favorite snacks that are portable. Promises of a snack after the photographer takes their picture is usually super enticing to most children. It will help keep their energy levels up throughout the session, and also keep them engaged with taking their portraits! Use them as a bribe if needed during the session for an especially uncooperative child. Works every time! : )

4. Bring Toys/Comfort Items

Don't forget to bring your child's favorite toys, blankets, or comfort items. Familiar objects can provide a sense of security, especially in new environments, and help keep your child comfortable and relaxed during the shoot. Also, if your baby/toddler takes a pacifier, bring several! This is extremely important.

5. Be Positive

Maintain a positive attitude and communicate excitement about the photo session to your kids. Use positive language when talking about the upcoming experience to build anticipation and make it something they look forward to.

6. The Day of Your Session

On the day of the session, aim to arrive a little early at the location. This allows your kids to get accustomed to the surroundings, interact with the photographer, and become more comfortable before the actual photo shoot begins. It also allows you to fix any stray hairs or tie loose shoe laces on some kiddos who may have come "undone" in the car ride.

7. During the Photo Shoot

Stay relaxed and encourage your kids to have fun during the session. Engage them in playful activities, such as singing songs or playing games, to keep the mood light and enjoyable. Allow the photographer to guide the session while you interact naturally with your kids. I want you to remember something, Mama: your kids being cranky or uncooperative is NORMAL. Taking family photos is a very difficult task to ask toddlers and young kids to do! However, if you bring snacks, a toy, sing songs and play games, you will be doing the best thing you can do to ensure a wonderful outcome for your family's portraits. Don't worry!

8. After It's Over

Once the session concludes, celebrate! Offer praise and positive reinforcement to your kids for their cooperation. Maybe plan a fun activity or treat as a reward for their good behavior during the session.


Preparing your kids for a family photo session involves a mix of planning, positivity, and flexibility. By being organized, maintaining a positive attitude, and creating a relaxed atmosphere, you can help your children feel comfortable and cooperative during the session. Remember, the goal is to capture genuine moments that reflect the joy and love within your family. If you have yet to plan your dream family photo session, feel free to reach out to Sarah Finicle Photography here. If you'd like to hear more about what the SFP Experience is, click here.

Proudly Feautred in the New Orleans Mom Guide to the Best Family Photographers in NOLA

Proudly Featured on the New Orleans Mom Guide to the Best Family Photographers in NOLA

Woman smiling at her newborn baby for blog titled 8 Effective Ways to Prepare Your Kids For a Family Photo Session
a baby's head, wearing a floral headband outdoors taking a photo