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Tips for a successful family photo session with young kids

From a family photographer in New Mexico

Family photo sessions with young children can be a bit of a challenge. Still, with the right preparation and approach, they can be fun, and you can leave with beautiful photos documenting your family’s milestones! As a family photographer in New Mexico, I have lots of experience working with kids of all ages. So today, I’m sharing some tips so you can have a successful family photo session with your young children:

1. Make sure your kids are well-rested and fed.

Having enough rest puts everyone in a better mood! For a successful family photo session, it’s essential that your kids arrive well-rested. If you have younger children still napping, try to schedule your session after their naptime and make sure they get their nap before your photo session. It’s also a good idea to feed everyone shortly before your session. Maybe you could eat a meal before getting dressed for your session or at least have a snack ready right before your session.


Tips for taking family photos with small children

2. Bring your child's favorite items.

If your child has a favorite stuffed animal, blanket, toy, or comfort object, be sure to bring it along to the session. These items can be comforting and help your child feel more at ease if they get upset. Even if you don’t want the object visible in your photos, it’s a good idea to have it close by just in case.

3. Avoid video screens right before the session.

To avoid a tantrum, try to avoid screentime right before your session. That way, you won’t risk a meltdown when you take away the device. Instead, try keeping them occupied with music, a book, or a toy on the way to your session.

4. Let the photographer know your child's favorite songs.

Music can make your session a little more fun! If your child has a favorite song, let your photographer know. They can download it and play it during the session to help put your child at ease. You could even have your photographer document a little family dance party!



5. Stay positive about your session.

Try to act excited about your session, and make sure not to scold your kids right before taking photos. Otherwise, your kids might feel like your photo session is a punishment, and you don’t want that! Of course, you want them to be on their best behavior, but staying positive and upbeat will have a much better effect. You’ll be able to tell if your kids are only sitting still in a photo because you forced them to. Keeping everyone in a good mood will help your pictures turn out beautifully! Your photographer will be able to document natural moments between your family with real joy!

6. Relax. Your mood will affect your children.

It’s crucial to find your chill as a parent before your photo session. Your energy and mood will impact your children, so it’s important to be as relaxed as possible. Take some deep breaths, have a stretching session, or do whatever you need to do to keep your mindset positive before the session. Then, if you enjoy the photoshoot, the chances of your child enjoying it will increase significantly!

7. Get the classic photos first.

Because toddlers have a short attention span, I like to get the classic smile-and-look-at-the-camera shots in the first 10 minutes of the session. After that, we can get some more lifestyle-style shots with hugs, kisses, and natural moments of your family having fun.


Nervous about family photos? These tips can help.

8. Have fun, and go with the flow.

Kids can be unpredictable, and that’s okay! Don’t worry too much during your session if your child isn’t cooperating. Instead, try to go with the flow and just have fun with your kids. Even if your child has a total meltdown, it’s not the end of the world. Be prepared to soothe them by having an activity in mind that could get them laughing, like dancing, tickling, or games. I’ve taken some really sweet photos of parents comforting their little ones during a session.

9. Go into your session without expectations.

It’s best to go into your family photo session with zero expectations. That way, you can relax and have fun, leading to better photos that you will cherish for years to come!



Family photo sessions with young children can be so much fun but can also be challenging. By following these 9 tips and being prepared for whatever your session may throw at you, you can help ensure a successful session! You’ll come away with beautiful, timeless photos of your family. Contact me today if you have any questions or need help planning your photo session! I take family photos in New Mexico with families of all ages, and I’d be happy to help you plan your perfect family photo session.


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