Tips To Prepare Children For Photo Shoots - Baobab Photography

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Tips To Prepare Children For Photo Shoots

Summer is a busy time for photo shoots in San Diego, especially family photo shoots. I recently hired another photographer to take family photos of my family and as a parent of two small children, I found myself facing the questions that I figure many of my clients must encounter.

What if they don’t smile?

What if they want to play around instead of looking at the camera?

What if I am paying a lot of money and my kids have a total meltdown during the session?

Fear not, any good photographer worth their salt will be able to capture some smiles from your kids. Even if they aren’t into posed family photos, there is always the opportunity for some amazing candid shots!

As a photographer that specializes in family portraits, these are some of the best tips to prepare children for photo shoots.

Prep them

Letting children know what to expect from a family photo shoot is a great way to avoid any surprises down the road. Telling them the photographer’s name and even showing them a picture of the photographer will help them feel like they aren’t about to meet a total stranger. This in turn helps alleviate any shyness or anxiety.

How to get the best smiles out of small children for a family photo shoot.

Let them be themselves

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to just let your kids be kids during a family photo session. That means letting them play and run around. This helps to warm them up to both the camera and the photographer, and produces more natural smiles.

Children playing in the sand on the beach in San Diego.

Keep things low-key

Don’t schedule your family photo shoot on a day when you are doing a million things. Whether you’re sightseeing around San Diego or running errands, packing your day full of things to do and then adding a photo shoot on top of everything else can backfire. Sessions are at the end of the day so a little downtime beforehand can help improve energy levels (for parents too!). This is definitely one of the best tips to prepare children for photo shoots.

Tips to prepare children for photo shoots.

Bring snacks

Snacks are great for appeasing antsy kids. Crackers, raisins, and other non-messy snacks are the perfect way to keep their energy levels up. Oh yeah, and make sure to keep them hydrated! It’s totally okay to ask your photographer for a quick break to give the kids some time to refuel.

Tips to get the best smiles out of children.


I may or may not have promised my girls Hatchimal toys at the end of our own family session if they cooperated, so absolutely NO JUDGEMENT if you want to go that route! Whatever works best for your family.

Tips to prepare children for photo shoots.

Lastly, HAVE FUN!

Whether you’re getting photos taken for your annual holiday card, or you’re here on vacation, you’ll want to enjoy yourself. Let me worry about getting those smiles out of your little ones. I’ve worked with many children over the years and I have always managed to get great shots from every session. Check out my children’s gallery to see all the gorgeous smiles!