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How to get your children excited about their photo shoot

Updated: Mar 19, 2021

So you have found your favourite photographer and you’ve booked your family in for a photo shoot, and you can’t wait to get beautiful new photographs of you all together, to capture your children’s personalities, where they’re smiling and actually looking at the camera!

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But the dread sets in, and you wonder if your children will behave during the photography session. I get it, sometimes just getting them out the door can be a feat, add that to the pressure of making sure everyone looks picture perfect and on their best behaviour.

There is nothing worse than when children are not their best selves on the day, and the cheekiest parts of their personality comes out or if they do not cooperate with the photographer.

You are not alone in these concerns, in fact as a family photographer I fully expect children to have a moment during the session, especially if they are young. I am not personally worried about children’s behaviour during a session with me, it’s all part of capturing their personalities and I endeavour to make sure that the session is as fun as possible for the children so that they enjoy their time with me and having their photos taken.

However, I am sure you want to be able to prepare them to have the best possible photo shoot. Based on my experience with other families, there are certain things you can do to make sure your children are at their best, these may not sound like much, but trust me, they make a difference.

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Make sure your children are well-fed.

My first piece of advice is to make sure you children are fed before the session, often hunger can cause great upset, which is not great news at any point in time, but especially when you’re about to have a photoshoot! Making sure they are well-fed increases the chances of them listening to you and look happy and content in their final photos.

Make sure you plan the session around nap times

This is very important, tired children will not be at their best. When discussing your session I will always ask about nap times, making sure your child is well rested before a session will help prevent any grumpiness during the session.

Talk to your children about the session

Preparing your children for a photoshoot starts long before they arrive. It’s always good to speak about what will happen during your session. Make it sound fun and exciting, show them some favourite photos you have of them and how much they have grown since then, show them a picture of me and my name (which is Cheryl) so they get to know who I am before they arrive, let them know I am going to make this fun and that we will play games together.

Let them contribute to the session, ask them what they would like to include, bringing their favourite teddy makes the images even more special, especially if that teddy would normally follow them everywhere. Ask them what fun things they can think for us to do during our session. Some family favourite activities during our photo sessions are tickle time, dizzy wizzy’s, flying airplanes and races. The possibility of fun is endless.

Another idea is to let them know they can have a print for their room, my own son has one of me and him, which he chose himself, so he doesn’t miss me when I am not there. He’s only 6, but that photo means a great deal to him.

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Don’t tell your children to smile

We want to gain natural smiles of your children and not those fake over exaggerated smiles. You can do this by doing things during the session that make your children laugh and smile. It’s our job as adults to be funny and help make the child feel relaxed. Don’t stress, let’s make this fun and exciting.

Please remember it is ok for your child to have a moment during the session, so don’t worry if we need to take a break whilst they get back to their happy selves, this is the reason I give an hour for your session, so your children have time to relax with me and know having their photos taken isn’t scary but very fun!

Bring their favourite treats

It’s helpful to bring treats along to the photo shoot, bribery always work. But make sure they are small snacks as we don’t want your child to stop and eat and take 20 minutes to eat a packet of crisps! Reminding your children that their favourite treat is waiting for them at the end of their photo shoot is a great way to help keep them focused. Don’t forget to bring a drink too, all the running around and fun we will have can be thirsty work!

Not at treats need to be food though, some treats may come afterwards such a play in the park, watching a movie or visiting their favourite place.

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Make sure you leave in plenty of time.

Arriving early to your sessions will allow the children some time to play before the session starts, which will help them relax. Sometimes things can come up and make us feel rushed and this can lead to stress for both yourselves and your children, so giving you all that little extra time will be a godsend during the session.

Don’t forget they are children

We are not looking for perfection during a family photo shoot, but authenticity of the emotions of which the family show each other. Every family is unique and capturing what makes your family different is exactly what we are here for. Children seldom fake emotions, so by keeping everything light and fun hearted, you will gain beautiful images no matter how they behave on the day. Let the children be themselves, and they may just surprise you at how well the photos come out. Nothing looks more real than a family having fun together.

It is also worth remembering that children mirror their parents, so by remaining calm and having fun, your children will too.

To book me as your next family photographer please get in touch!


Meet the Author

Cheryl Peach is a family photographer based in Plymouth, Devon who specializes in maternity, newborn and family lifestyle photography, creating natural photographs that show the emotions and uniqueness of every family. Oh So Peachy Photography was

created in 2016 when Cheryl found her passion for photography whilst photographing her own children and wanted to create memories for other to cherish for years to come. To book a photo session, please get in touch.

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