10 Tips for making photoshoots fun for kids!

If I was a child again, I think the last thing that I would want to do is sit in front of a stranger as they take pictures of me and tell me what to do.  It is intimidating and definitely would get in the way of the things that I would rather be doing.  That being said, I am (sadly) not a child and am now able to see the amazing value in family photographs.  At Promessa Studios, we want your family portrait sessions to be an energetic and fun experience for everyone!  Here are ten tips we have to make our photo shoot a fun experience for your kids.


1) No technology!

Although it may be tempting to give your children their devices to keep them busy, it is really hard to get them to give it up without having a meltdown on our hands.  Unless you want crying pictures or pictures where they are playing a video game, we suggest that you leave the technology in the car.  Instead, we will be super active and get them to run around and play games with us so that they aren’t even thinking about anything else!

2) Don’t tell them it is a photo shoot.

I love this trick because of how simple and effective it is.  By framing the photo shoot as something else, such as a play date at the park, the expectations totally change.  Instead of them dreading having to sit still and say cheese for an hour, they instead are excited to run around the park and play games!  When they come into the photo shoot already excited instead of apprehensive, it makes for a really fun experience for everyone.

3) Bring snacks!

As a chronic over-snacker, the thought of going through a photo shoot without a quick bite to eat is terrifying, and I am an adult!  Snacks make everyone happy and we are here to capture you while you are happy.  To prevent hunger meltdowns, to bribe your kids, and to feed the birds, snacks are vital to a great photo session.

4) Schedule the shoot for after a nap

Similarly to how a hungry kid is inevitably going to be cranky, an exhausted one will be as well.  By strategically planning your appointment, we can avoid any photos where only 75% of the people in them are awake.  Extra energy also means extra running around!  We love taking pictures while they are playing and promise that they will be tuckered out at the end of our shoot.  By making sure they are well-rested beforehand, we can increase our chances of having a fun, energetic session.

5) Leave plenty of time to get ready!

There are few things that feel worse than running late.  If you feel flustered and not totally happy with how everyone looks before the shoot, it will show in the pictures.  We want you to have a great time and fall in love with the photos that we take, so it is best to leave plenty of time to get ready beforehand!  Corralling kids is not an easy task and we totally understand that.  By prepping everyone an extra hour, day, week, year (there is no limit to how early, something will inevitably still try to delay you) early, you can show up stress-free and feeling fantastic.

6) Remember that not everyone has to be looking and smiling in every picture

Although the term “family photo shoot” conjures up images of matching families all saying cheese and looking at the camera, we really want the photos that we produce to feel like an authentic representation of your family.  If not everyone is looking or perfectly smiling the whole time, it’s okay! In fact, the pictures where you and your family are naturally interacting and laughing with each other are typically the ones that mean the most to you.  Those are the ones that we are searching for.

7) Have fun with it!

The last thing we want is to have you walk away from the photo session feeling upset or stressed out.  This experience should be fun for everyone so that the photographs we capture reflect that fun.  We want you to be silly, tickle each other, and make goofy faces throughout our time together.  Scheduling an activity for everyone to do, such as finger-painting, making a meal together, or playing in the yard is a sure-fire way to get everyone feeling comfortable and fun, which is exactly what we are looking for.

8) Dress appropriately!

Looking nice for your photos is important, but keeping your child comfortable and cute is even more so.  If they are in clothes that are uncomfortable or that they typically don’t wear, they will probably fidget with them and just be unhappy.  That being said, it is best to choose clothes that are all in the same color family, but not matching.  By coordinating on a color-tone basis we make sure that you all look similar, but avoid all the problems that matching brings up.  Last tip, don’t wear white!  We want you all to be the subjects and not your bright white shirts.

9) Meltdowns happen.

We totally understand that sometimes kids just have a bad day, don’t worry about it!  We have seen plenty of meltdowns.  Sometimes the crying photos are actually the most memorable ones.  If your child doesn’t want to sit still, let them explore! Don’t feel like you have to keep them quiet and posing. We want to capture your family in its most natural state and love having to run around to do so.

10) Bring toys/props

Keeping a child happy is much easier when they have an activity to do. If you want to bring a ball or a doll or something to draw with, feel free! They will enjoy the experience much more if it seems like they are just playing with a toy rather than posing for a picture.


And that’s it!  If you can do all of this, you will be on your way to a great photo shoot experience.