How to Get Your Child Excited About Their Photo Session Instead of Dreading It

Being a seasoned photographer, I’ve faced the challenge of turning photo sessions into thrilling adventures rather than tedious tasks for families with children. Kids, with their boundless energy and unpredictability, can sometimes make getting that perfect photograph feel like an elusive dream. However, with a bit of creativity and a sprinkle of patience, you can turn the tables and have your little one eagerly awaiting their next photo session.

Moab Photographer Arches
Family Session in Arches National Park
  1. Make it a Game
    Transform the photo session into a game and watch your child’s eyes light up. Use playful prompts like “Who can strike the silliest pose?” or “Let’s see who can spot the most butterflies.” By injecting an element of fun, you’re not only capturing genuine smiles but also creating lasting memories of laughter and joy.
  2. Choose a Familiar Setting
    Pick a location that holds special significance for your child. Whether it’s the neighborhood park where they love to play or the cozy corner of your living room, a familiar environment can help them feel more at ease, turning the session into a comfortable and enjoyable experience. Alternatively, opt for something they have been excited about recently. Sometimes it’s rocks, sometimes it’s dinosaurs (we have a lot of dinosaur tracks in Moab and that’s always a fun one to explore).
  3. Let Them Express Themselves
    Encourage your child to bring their favorite toys or accessories to the photo session. This not only adds a personal touch to the photos but also gives them a sense of ownership and control. When they have items they love with them, it can ease any anxiety and make the session feel like an extension of their playtime.
  4. Timing is Key
    Plan the photo session during a time when your child is typically most energetic and happy. Avoid scheduling it around naptime or mealtimes to ensure they’re in the best mood possible. A well-timed session increases the likelihood of capturing those genuine smiles and candid moments.
  5. Involve Them in the Planning
    Give your child a voice in the process by involving them in the planning stage. Ask for their input on outfit choices or suggest they pick a theme for the session. When kids feel like active participants, they are more likely to be excited about the upcoming adventure.
  6. Be Playful
    Make a photo session fun for yourself as well. Enjoy in playful banter, share jokes, or even indulge in a little goofy dance. The more relaxed and fun the atmosphere, the more likely your child is to forget they’re in front of a camera, resulting in natural and authentic expressions.
  7. Introduce Your Photographer to Your Kids
    Something that I find to be the most impactful piece is that the children and young people who looked at my Instagram and saw me talking to the camera or got on a call with me – those families always feel a 100% more relaxed during our sessions.
  8. Try not to have limit on time
    I know this one is a tough one and it depends on your photographer’s workflow but not feeling time stressed is one of the biggest (almost) philosophical pieces for me. If we take 30 minutes to get beautiful images – that’s great but sometimes we need and hour or maybe even two. Each family is unique. And knowing that things take the time they do helps to put families I work with at ease.
  9. Avoid sugar before the session
    This is a harder one because as parents we want to encourage and reward our little humans to have fun with us during a photo session, and sugar is a very easy reward but it also contributes to more volatility and moodiness.
  10. Avoid rewards
    This one is a bit harder to explain but I always encourage my families to not offer rewards after the session. Because that puts more pressure on the kids to “perform” if that makes sense, which makes them a bit stressed which makes them to overthink the whole experience. I recommend framing any potential “after” activities as a “fun family activity” where in a way everyone is rewarded with quality time or games.

Making your photo session fun takes a bit flexibility, and a dash of playfulness. By incorporating these tips, you not only capture beautiful moments but also create a positive association with photo sessions, ensuring your child looks forward to each one with enthusiasm and a big, genuine smile.

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