I’m Gillian! I’m a family photographer who is obsessed with capturing not just the major milestones, but all the in-between moments that make up your family life. Most of my clients stay with me from maternity sessions through to annual family photos, and I love getting to know each family and documenting the unique ways they grow and change over the years.
Photographing children can be both a rewarding and challenging experience. Their energy, unpredictability, and occasional resistance to being still can make capturing those perfect shots a bit tricky. However, with the right approach and a touch of creativity, you can turn any photo session into a delightful and memorable experience for both kids and parents. I wanted to provide you with tips and tricks for successful photos with kids.
I always start by establishing a rapport with children before diving into the shoot. I try and make them feel at ease by introducing myself, having friendly conversations, asking about their interests, and making them feel comfortable around me. A relaxed and trusting environment will result in more natural and genuine expressions. I always try and approach each session with energy and enthusiasm so they can get excited to take photos too!
I will often have neutral props or toys that don’t pop or distract from your pictures, but rather blend in and can help your kids feel more at ease (for example, a small teddy bear, wooden rattle, etc.)
During my sessions, I go for a more natural approach, avoiding stiff poses and fake smiles. I encourage kids to move, jump, dance, or interact with each other. Candid shots often reveal the true colors of a child’s personality, and playful poses can result in spontaneous moments that are both heartwarming and authentic.
I try and encourage parents to schedule the photo shoot at a time when the child is well-rested and in a good mood. Avoid conflicting with their nap or meal times, as a hungry or tired child is less likely to cooperate. A happy and energetic child is more likely to enjoy the process and participate willingly. With that being said, because I tend to shoot during sunset when shooting outdoors, and depending on the time of year and daylight savings, I also ask parents to be flexible with their child’s bedtime schedule and substitute being up later for longer naps, or a temporary day of session schedule shift.
Having an assistant or a family member whom the child is familiar with can be incredibly helpful. This person can help with getting the child’s attention, making them laugh, or comforting them if they become a bit shy or anxious. I have had families bring along grandparents or nannies to help children feel at ease and get them to laugh/smile during shoots.
I like to incorporate fun little games to keep children engaged. Simple games like Simon says, peek-a-boo, or a treasure hunt for the perfect spot can add an element of excitement and distract them from the fact that they are being photographed.
Children can be unpredictable, and it’s important to be patient and flexible during the photo shoot. If a child is not cooperating or becomes disinterested, take a break, switch locations, or change the activity. Sometimes, the best shots come from spontaneous moments. I also try and encourage parents to not repremand or get upset when kids are not cooperating, but instead re-direct them. I am also not above bribery! Bringing a small treat (my fave are the little marshmallows because they are light, easy, and mess-free!) can encourage them too!
Fear not if there is a rogue booger, runny nose, or scratch or bruise, I got you! That’s where the magic of post-processing steps in. Kids have runny noses, and they get bumps and bruises from time to time, don’t worry about it! I can easily smooth those small distractions out of your final photos : )
Kids love seeing themselves in pictures. Show them some of the images on the camera screen during the shoot or share a few favorites on your phone. This can boost their confidence and enthusiasm for the process.
I hope you found these tips and tricks for successful photos with kids super helpful and you have memories to last a lifetime!
Conclusion: Don’t let the craziness and unpredictability of kids keep you from getting professional photos done, I am a professional chaos coordinator and I am here for all of it! In short, I got your back. Let’s make some magic and have fun in the process : )
I’m Gillian! I’m a family photographer who is obsessed with capturing not just the major milestones, but all the in-between moments that make up your family life. Most of my clients stay with me from maternity sessions through to annual family photos, and I love getting to know each family and documenting the unique ways they grow and change over the years. I believe that capturing human connection and building long-term relationships is the most important work I can do, and I would love to tell your family’s story!
You deserve intentional, authentic images to remember these moments