Sarah Dipity


How to Prepare Kids for a Photo Session

Mom with her two small boys taking family photos in a central NJ park.

As a mother of four, prior daycare worker & lover of all things babies and children, I know a thing or two about kids and these 5 tips will help your photo session (and preparation) go a little smoother!

Explain what will happen in advance (preferably not in the car on the way to your session). Once you have confirmed your session is a good time to start talking with them about it. Walk them through what the whole process will look like and when your session will be happening (the older the kiddos, the more specific you can be about time). Include what will happen before, during and after. 

Example Explanation:

-Mom: “Lucy, in 2 weeks, we will be doing a photo session with Miss Sarah. She loves kids and has been working with children for over 25 years! isn’t that cool? Before the session, we are going to get ready by taking a shower/bath and getting our special outfits on. Then, we are going to get photos taken that represent our family and how much we love one another at a preserve/park/etc. The photos will be together as a family, then kids with mom, kids with dad, all kids together, each kid individually, and lastly, mom and dad only! (or whatever you are taking photos of & where: Lucy in the flower field, Lucy with her new puppy, etc) If we get through all of those and have time left, Miss Sarah promised that we can take some super silly ones. It will take our whole family working together to get the best ones! After the session, we will ________. (I always recommend planning a fun family outing or a special meal after the session! )

[If you are friends with another client of mine, you can also add that Miss Sarah takes photos for the “Johnson family” or “Timmy’s family”.] 

Let the kids help choose their outfits and/or accessories. GASP! I know, you are probably thinking I’m crazy but hear me out. Children like to be independent, they like to make their personal preferences known and don’t really like being told what to do…which in some cases is absolutely necessary, but not here so why make it a battle. Here’s how to make it work without adding stress to your life. Choose two outfits (or you could do a single pair of pants and two tops or vice versa) and lay them out, or put them in your online shopping cart. For girls just letting them choose between two hair accessories or a bracelet is all they need. Let the child choose which one they would like to wear. You’ve given them a choice within your personal styling preferences but not so many choices that they become overwhelmed. Children need to learn decision making skills and this is an opportunity to do that while the ‘consequences’ are pretty minimal.  **PRO TIP: Choose your outfit first, then style everyone else around what you!

Remain calm. Pretty simple, right? Children (and spouses) feed off of you and your feelings. By planning your outfits ahead of time, taking off tags/ironing/etc in advance and preparing the children (and your spouse), you can help your family remain calm and arrive in a good mood ready to capture your family’s personality and love for one another! Photo sessions can cause a bit of a fear of the unknown for everyone (hello kids!), so by controlling what you can (preparation and planning), you will help yourself be less stressed leading up to and during your session! Worried Lucy might not cooperate? It’s fine…I’ve had kids throw everything my way and I’m ready! Not to mention, I’m not only a mother of four kids who have an 18 year age gap between them but also a dental hygienist who works with children, an aunt & God-Mother to a few little ones.

Keep their routine in tact for at least 72 hours in advance. Children LOVE routines…whether they admit it or not! Routines help them navigate all the development happening in their body and mind. It’s especially important to help get enough rest the night before so they can be refreshed and ready to go. If your session is later in the day, try to keep the big, fun and potentially overstimulating events to a minimum leading up to the session.

Lastly, a snack, hydration and a bathroom break just before leaving for the session! Lucy will feel much more willing to cooperate for the session if she has a satiated stomach, plenty of water and uses the restroom…especially since many public restrooms are currently unavailable for use! Even some simple stretching or a story time before getting ready isn’t a bad idea!  **PRO TIP: bring all outing essentials & having an extra special treat or surprise in tow may help if the session gets a little tough for them!

Have a preparation tip for other SarahDipity Photography families that has worked for you? Please share it below!

Family of 4 take photo ion the Lambertville, NJ towpath.

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