How do I prepare my children for a professional photoshoot?

Okay, so we all know that professional photoshoots can feel like a pain for families with young kids. I've seen so many parents experience high levels of stress when it comes to family photos. That being said, I swear that family photos don't HAVE to feel like pulling teeth- they can even be fun (no seriously, I swear). If you prepare your kids for the photos and take some time to look at your own mindset around photoshoot expectations, things will go much more smoothly for the whole family.

Let's go over a few of my favorite tips to prepare children for

professional photoshoots, shall we?

1- Give your kids a heads up that the photoshoot is scheduled and happening soon. Let them know what to expect during the shoot, but make it fun! Tell them that they'll be getting a chance to play with the photographer and be silly around their camera. Getting them excited, as if they're going to a play date, will help them feel more comfortable and ready for the experience. When we put a lot of pressure on "you have to behave, you'll be in trouble if you don't smile, etc." it can have the reverse effect (aka a really cranky kid) during your photo session.

2- Do your best to choose a time that works well for your child's routine. It may be best to schedule the photoshoot for a time when they're well-rested, well-fed, and ready to play (especially for children under 4). If the "best" timing isn't an option for the day of your photoshoot, consider changing up their routine that day to make it work. For example, push back their nap and snack time so they feel good when photos are scheduled to happen. We all know that a well-rested child with a full belly is much more likely to be a happy one.

3- Bring some yummy snacks and beverages to keep the kids (and yourself) content throughout your time together. This can definitely help prevent crankiness for parents and kids alike! During longer photoshoots, you can always schedule little breaks for snacks and EXTRA silliness (running breaks, for example) to avoid cranky toddlers from making an appearance.

4- Let your child be themselves. This is probably one of the most important ways to have a happy photoshoot with children (in my opinion). Family photo sessions don't have to be about posing and saying cheese; they can be about capturing your child's personality today, in the moment, at this precise developmental stage. We want to let their unique little personalities shine through. The absolute best photos are the ones that encapsulate your child's most natural moments.

5- Encourage your children to play and join in with them. Playing is a such an authentic way to get your kiddo's natural energy out while getting bright genuine smiles in your photos. It's okay to let them run around, jump, climb, and explore. I always do my best to avoid forcing them to pose in a certain way. Candid photos capture the moments you'll miss when they're older, trust me. It's worth a little dirt on their pants (most of which I can edit out anyway, just saying- haha) to let them be adventurous and get the photos you'll truly love.

6- You gotta have fun! The more fun you and your family have during your photoshoot, the better the photos will turn out, period! Allow yourself to relax, enjoy the process, and let your child's unique little personality shine bright.

7- Hire a photographer who is already experienced with children. An experienced children's photographer will know how to make your child feel comfortable and relaxed, while encouraging play and silliness. They'll capture your child's natural personality in the photos instead of the common stiff poses we often see.

8- Bring some props. Feel free to bring along a few props that your child loves. These could be anything from a favorite toy to a blanket or a stuffed animal. The more comfortable and at home they feel, the more authentic the moments we capture together will be.

I really hope these tips are helpful for you while choosing a photographer and prepping your children for their next professional photo session. Remember, the most important thing is to have fun and let your child's personality shine through. Embrace the chaos, friends. If you ever need help or assistance in making this magic happen, you know where to find me... I got you!