Top 5 Tips for Making a Photo Session with Kids Easy & Fun

family at sand hollow state park for fun family photos in st. george utah

If you’re preparing for a photo session with your children, you may be feeling a bit apprehensive. Let me reassure you, your family photos can be fun! The below tips will definitely come in handy before your upcoming photo session and help you enjoy your entire experience. Learn how to make your family photo session with kids easy and fun.

If you’re new here, hi! I’m Sadie. Your St. George photographer, location expert, and styling assistant. I am here to do everything in my power to make this the least stressful, most comfortable, and most fun photo experience you’ve had. 

Since starting my business in 2019, I have photographed over 300 families in Colorado and Oregon. I am so excited to now serve families in St. George, Utah and the surrounding areas–the place that I grew up and now call my family’s home. I can’t wait to meet you and your family! You can learn more about me and my family photography business here.

Mother and daughter having fun during their St. George family photo shoot

1. Don’t make a huge deal out of it. If you’re stressed out and cranky, your kids will usually pick up on it and act accordingly. Their behavior will be better if you are relaxed and having fun. You may have to make some compromises to keep the peace such as letting your energetic daughter’s hair stay straight instead of curling it into because she won’t sit still. Focus on the big picture and don’t sweat the small stuff. In the grand scheme of things, you will want to look back and remember your family just how you are right now anyways. With their hair the way they like it, and even that forced smile your toddler might give you as they are just learning how to say “cheese”.

2. Make it fun. Family photo sessions with me are all about FUN! This might be the most important part of having beautiful family photos. I fill your family photo session with games, and lots of opportunities for your wiggly kids to run around and play. We will let the kids have a couple “fun pictures” where they get to pick their own pose. You get to keep the more serious photos while they get to keep their silly photos. This way everyone wins.  If you are struggling to get your kids to sit still, don’t worry about it! Join in on the fun and be prepared to snuggle, blow raspberries on your baby’s belly or cheeks and play games.

Let your kids be themselves! While it may seem obvious, it’s not always easy. Here are some tips on how to help your kids have a great time at the session. This is a no discipline zone. Yep, I said it. During the
session (and probably a couple of hours leading up to the session), try your very hardest not to get mad
at, be stern with, or say no to your child or children. Unless it’s a safety issue, of course. This is so
important, especially during the photo session.

family walking in a line and playing during their St. George family photos at Sand Hollow state park

3. Be prepared.  If you’re going to be out for several hours, ensure that your children are well rested and have had their nap. Bringing some snacks and activities along is also a great idea. If you happen to be shooting in a remote location, you never know when you might need something like bug spray, tissues or a first aid kit so bring that along too. I usually have everything you will need, but more is never a bad idea. I do recommend keeping everything in your car or a small bag. During your session, we will be moving around a lot and if you’re carrying a big bag of things it might ruin some prime opportunities for candid photos.

family walking in a line and playing during their St. George family photos at Sand Hollow state park

4. Be patient. Save your sanity by trying not to control the photo session too much. Your job during the hour is to just be the “cool parents”. Laugh at the silly behavior, ridiculous jokes, and don’t be afraid to make a few of them yourself.

Here’s a fun little fact for you… 9 times out of 10 it’s not the kids who mess up a great photo… it’s the parents! The kids are over there cracking up because little Timmy thought it would be funny to make fart sounds with his armpit. They look happy, they are having a great time. But then you look at the parents and what are they doing? Looking annoyed. Lol. Is that going to be a cute photo now? Probably not. So what can you do?
Look at your kids like they are doing the cutest thing EVER. I don’t care if they are throwing your hair in
your face or trying to hit dad on the head… it’s all adorable, okay? If you just pretend like everything they do is either hilarious or sweet, all of your photos will be great. It’s a proven fact!

family posing with their off roading vehicle at sand hollow state park in the sand dunes

5.  Have a chat. Get your children talking to both you and the photographer about topics such as school or their favorite songs. I send out a questionnaire before each of my sessions asking questions to help me get to know you and your family before your session! Answering the questionnaire with lots of details is super helpful and will create the fun and relaxed photo session you’re hoping for. Encouraging lots of conversations during your session allows your kids to feel more comfortable around your photographer and will also give your photographer a chance to capture lots of candid and cute expressions.