Does the idea of having family photos taken with your small children sound like more stress than it’s worth? It doesn’t need to be stressful. In fact, family photos can be fun and memorable for everyone involved! Here are 7 easy ways to get gorgeous, natural family photos without the stress.

Tip #1: Plan your outfits ahead of time

Have you ever packed for a trip the night before or the morning of and when you opened up your suitcase on vacation you realized you didn’t pack anything practical, or that matched, you forgot socks, or didn’t consider the weather. I’ve been there! Talk about unnecessary stress. Same with getting ready for your photo session. Trust me, planning ahead of ahead of time eases stress and makes getting frame-worth family photos possible!

I’ve created a 13-page Seasonal Style Guide to help you plan ahead of time and look GREAT! It’s packed full of tips, examples, and even has a list of common mistakes to avoid. Click here to get the guide.

Tip #2: Let them be little!

Your littles are FULL of personality, and you want those fun and quirky personalities to shine in your photos! The best way to achieve that is to embrace child-led sessions. Child-led sessions don’t have to be chaotic. The more that small children feel comfortable, safe, and free to express themselves (even with a photographer there), the better and more natural the photos will be. So let them run around, explore their environment, and have fun. The photos will be more organic and everyone (including you!) will be far less stressed. 

Tip #3: Book a time that works with your Family routine (& be on time)

Okay, this goes without saying but still deserves a spot on this list: don’t book your family photo session in the middle of normal nap times or dinner times, or during times of day you tend to see their cranky side come out (aka the witching hour). Also, since we’re talking ways to ease stress, it’s probably best to pick a time when you’re absolutely sure you can be on time. Rushing around trying to get to your session is no fun and doesn’t exactly get you in the mood to get photos taken.   

Tip #4: Embrace play! 

Laugh, tell jokes, play their favorite song or their favorite game to get those giggles and full-on belly laughs going! Some of my favorite games to play during a family photo session are “red light, green light”, tag, helicopter, peek-a-boo, or just a good ol’ fashioned tickle sesh! 

Tip #5: Bring water, snacks, or a favorite toy

Depending on how everyone’s doing, we might need to take a water or a snack break and that’s totally okay! Especially if you’ve opted for a full documentary session that is 1 hours or more. Or if we’re really embracing the play and they’ve been running around laughing, they’re probably thirsty. To avoid the crankiness (and stress), bring water, snacks, or their favorite toy either for play or just for their comfort.  

Tip #6: Resist bribing small children (unless you’re sure it works!) 

You know your children best, so you know if bribery works or not. I’ve seen this well-intentioned tactic go badly so I encourage you to resist! Most kids don’t understand the meaning of “delayed gratification” and let’s just say we got some great photos of the kids mowing down a bag of M&Ms and not much else. While bribery isn’t the best option for small children, husbands and fathers are a different story–bribe away! 

Tip #7: Opt for a Mini Session 

Kids have a small window of cooperation and attention, it’s just the way the universe works. Sometimes this applies to the adults too though, am I right? That’s exactly why I offer seasonal mini sessions so you can get gorgeous family photos during a quick and easy 20 minute session (and be done well before any meltdowns!) 

Pro tip: my mini sessions are popular and are only offered to my email list subscribers. If you’re not on the list, what are you waiting for?! As a bonus, you’ll get 15% off your first session (including minis!!). Click here to get on it! 

What do YOU think? Is this list complete? Do you have any more tips or parental wizardry to share with me or anyone reading? Leave a comment below!

7 easy ways to get frame-worth family photos (without the stress!)

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