9 Tips to Prepare Kids for Family Photoshoots


Family photoshoots are a great way to capture beautiful family memories that you will cherish for years to come! But let’s be real… preparing for a professional family photoshoot can be a bit daunting, especially when you have young children to consider. From choosing the right location to picking out outfits to keeping your kids engaged during the session, there are many things to take into account when preparing your kids for a family photoshoot.

As a family photographer, I know firsthand that kids can be unpredictable. With some preparation and a positive attitude, your family photoshoot can be an enjoyable experience and produce stunning results! Here are some tips on how to prepare your kids for a professional family photoshoot.

Happy family walking together during family photoshoot in Palmdale, California
Follow the tips below to prepare your kids for your upcoming family photoshoot

Tell Your Kids What to Expect During the Family Photoshoot

If your children have never been to a professional photoshoot before, it’s important to explain to them what to expect. Tell them that they will be taking pictures with a photographer and that it will be a fun experience. Show them some examples of family photoshoots to get them excited about the idea. You can even tell them that they will get to dress up and show off their cool outfits. If you bring accessories such as hats or bows – which add an extra touch of style to your photographs – explain to your kids how fashionable they’ll look with these accessories.

Two kids dressed in western theme outfits sitting on caboose during family photoshoot near Santa Clarita, California
Explain how the photoshoot will be fun

Elaborate on Why the Family Photoshoot is Important

What do you plan to do with your professional photos? Are you going to line your stairwell with photo canvases of your session? Are you going to use the photos on your holiday card that all your family and friends will see? Is Grandma going to hang a picture on her fridge?

Explain to your kids why this photoshoot is important, and how the photos will be used. If you tell them “I’m going to hang a big picture frame with the family picture we’re taking this afternoon over the couch right here,” your kids are more likely to care that the pictures turn out well and behave during the photoshoot.

Three kids smiling for Christmas mini session photoshoot in presents and car in Rosamond, California
Explain to your kids how the photos will be used, such as for holiday card photos

Consider the Photoshoot Location

The location you choose for your outdoor photoshoot can significantly impact the outcome of your photos. If you have young children, consider a location that is relatively easy to access and explore, such as a park or a beach. This way, your children can enjoy the surroundings while the photographer captures the perfect shots. Additionally, consider whether there is enough shade or cover in case the sun gets too harsh or in case of sudden rain.

If you don’t already have a specific location picked out, your photographer should send you a list of location recommendations, along with example photos and info on pros/cons of each location.

Boy smiling for family photoshoot on playground in Lancaster, California
Consider a location your kids will enjoy, such as a park with a playground

Dress for the Weather

When planning an outdoor photoshoot, it’s essential to dress for the weather. If it’s hot and sunny, make sure to dress your children in breathable, light clothing. If it’s chilly, make sure to bring layers to keep your children warm. Avoid anything that is too tight, too scratchy, or too hot. You want your children to be comfortable and happy during the shoot, so dress them appropriately.

Your photographer should also provide you with styling advice, to help you plan out outfits for every member of your family. To create a cohesive look in the photos and make them even more memorable, you should choose an overall color scheme for your family, with 2-3 colors that complement each other. For more advice on how to style your family for your photoshoot, stay tuned for my upcoming post on Styling Your Family Photos!

Two sisters smiling in front of Joshua trees for family photoshoot in Lancaster, California
Dress your kids in comfortable outfits with complementary colors

Talk to Your Photographer About the Time of Day

Many natural light photographers only do photoshoots in the hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset for the best “golden hour” lighting. Golden hour lighting is gorgeous, and it usually gives your photos an extra glow that you won’t get any other time of day! However, if you know that your kids are always cranky during that timeframe – and an adjusted nap schedule won’t help – then talk to your photographer about scheduling the photoshoot for another time of day.

Siblings smiling during golden hour lighting in front of Joshua trees during family photoshoot in Lancaster, California
Talk to your photographer about “golden hour” lighting versus naptimes

Bring Bribes (Snacks and Drinks)

Typically, a hungry kid is not a happy kid, so be sure to pack snacks and drinks for your photoshoot. These snacks can also be used as bribes, if your kids need extra motivation to smile for the camera. Avoid messy snacks such as chocolate or crackers. Simple snacks like gummies usually work well! For warmer days, also remember to bring plenty of water to keep everyone hydrated.

Girl smiling and eating snacks during family photoshoot near Santa Clarita, California
Bring bribes, such as snacks

Bring Props and Toys

To keep your children engaged during the photoshoot, bring along props and toys that they can play with. These can be anything from stuffed animals to bubbles to toy airplanes (we are big fans of airplanes here at Aronoff Photography!). Let your children play with these props and toys in-between photos to keep them entertained.

Girl smiling with airplane during aviation family photoshoot in Tehachapi, California
Bring props or toys for your kids

Let Your Kids Be Themselves

Kids can be unpredictable, and that’s okay! Don’t try to force them to do anything that they don’t feel comfortable doing. Instead, let your children be themselves and have fun during the shoot. With the photographer’s agreement, encourage your kids to run around, play games, or even jump for joy. These candid moments often make the best shots!

Two brothers having fun during family photoshoot near Santa Clarita, California
Let your kids be themselves

Trust Your Photographer, and Don’t Stress

Remember, the photoshoot is meant to be a fun experience for the whole family! Don’t stress if your children are not cooperating or if things don’t go exactly as planned. Try to stay patient and flexible throughout the photoshoot. Remember that kids are more likely to have fun in a relaxed and positive environment. You hired a professional photographer for a reason; even if your kids aren’t on their best behavior, trust that the photographer will take charge and capture beautiful family photos!

Two happy brothers smiling and playing during family photoshoot in Lancaster, California
Trust your photographer to capture fun photos of your kids

Conclusion: Preparing Your Kids for Family Photoshoots

In conclusion, preparing kids for a family photoshoot can be a lot of work, but it’s worth it in the end. By following the tips above, you can help ensure that your photoshoot goes smoothly and that you end up with beautiful photos that you’ll cherish for years to come!

Ready to book a family photoshoot? Reach out to Aronoff Photography to schedule your family photoshoot today!

Happy family in front of Joshua trees during family photoshoot in Palmdale, California
Prepare your kids to get family photos that you’ll treasure forever!