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  • Writer's pictureJo Leeson

How to Prepare Your Kids for a Photoshoot

how to prepare your kids for a photoshoot

As a family photographer, please believe me when I say I am never bothered by kids behaviour during a photoshoot. Some are boisterous and energetic. Some are super shy. Some are a little bit of both! But my shoots are relaxed and easy going and whilst I'll try and get a few shots of you all looking-and-smiling-at-the camera, my main goal is to capture the little moments in between. The quiet moments, the real smiles, the cuddles, the tickles. Your family, just they way you are.

But I also get that as a mum, a family photoshoot is stressful! You've put in a lot of effort. You've convinced your other half, you've chosen a photographer, a location, outfits for everyone, you've dragged everyone there. And you're spending a lot of your hard earned money. You want it to go well, you want to enjoy the experience, and you just really want some nice photos of everyone.

Let me help you make that happen.

6 top tips for how to prepare your kids for a photoshoot


The first tip is for you. And it is to just relax and have fun! There is nothing your kids can do that will shock me. I will work around whatever mood they are in, and I have lots of little tricks up my sleeves. Don't worry if they running around all over the place - I'll just run after them. Or if they won't look at my camera - I want natural shots anyway. Or if their nappy needs changing - I'll just wait. If you are relaxed during your family photoshoot, then there is a much higher chance that everyone else will be too.


Now for a more practical tip. Get their outfits right. And by this I really mean make sure they are comfortable in what they are wearing. Dress for the weather. Kids that are too hot or too cold are not going to be at their best. Plan your outfits as a family - you want to compliment each other, but don't go too matchy. Avoid dark colours, neons, brands and bold patterns. You can check out my Pinterest Boards if you fancy some more inspiration. And if you book your family photoshoot with me, I will send you a detailed what to wear guide based on the season, with tips for the whole family.


One of the most important thing you can do to a prepare for a family photoshoot with babies and young kids is to make sure that everyone is well fed and well rested. On the whole, mornings are usually best as they tend to be more awake and alert. Pack a few snacks just in case, although nothing too messy please! And remember this: I don't watch the clock during my sessions so there will always be time to take a break so you can feed, change or even just cuddle your little ones as and when needed. During a cold February photoshoot a few years back when it didn't actually get above freezing all day, we took a break so the family could go and warm up in the car for a bit!


Don't worry about coaching your little ones to look at the camera and smile, smile, smile. We want real, natural smiles not forced cheesy grins. Plus I find that when mum and dad are super focused on getting the kids to look at my lens, I end up with a camera full of photos of parents pointing at me! It's those images where you aren’t all looking directly at the camera, when you aren't forcing smiles, that are the most genuine and treasured photos we’ll get. If I want you to look at the camera I'll let you know, and I have a trick or two for getting the little ones to as well.


What would motivate your kids? A trip to the park afterwards? A new colouring book? To bring their favourite toy along? For my daughter it would be a small bag of Haribo! If there is something that will keep your little darlings motivated, use it!


The day before your family photography session, it’s a good idea to have a chat with older kids about what you’re all doing tomorrow so they know what to expect. Tell them how you’re just going to have a fun time together whilst a nice lady takes a few photos of you all, nothing to worry about. It’ll be lots of fun.

Keep your expectations realistic

As my husband likes to say, disappointment lives in the gap between expectations and reality. Or something like that. Babies and toddlers mostly dance to their own tune. It's just the way it is. So if you can get on board with the fact that they probably won't be perfectly behaved for the whole shoot, and that it actually doesn't matter anyway, then that gap I mentioned is an awful lot smaller.

There are many worries mums have about booking an outdoor family photoshoot. Now we've shown you how to prepare your kids for a photoshoot, why not take a squizz at the posts below that cover other common queries I get?


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