As a mom myself, I understand how stressful it can be to get a family ready to go somewhere, especially when you have little children. The thought of having a family photo session might seem like a big, daunting task, but I’m here to assure you that it doesn’t have to be. I promise, if you’ll follow these few helpful tips, you’ll have an enjoyable experience and you’ll be happy to have these memories to cherish forever.

How to Prepare for a Family Photo Session with Small Children

• Get in nap and rest time

If your little one is still on a nap schedule, you might need to adjust the time of their nap the day of the photo session. Make sure they still get their nap time in. If they have outgrown naps, let them have a rest time of 30-60 minutes. Kids are much happier when they’re well rested.

• Make sure they’re fed (and then bring along snacks!)

Nothing will make kids grumpier then having a growling tummy. Make sure they’ve had plenty to eat prior to the photo session. It’s likely that they’ll get hungry again during the session, so bring along some snacks and some water to drink.

• Let your kids smile naturally

Children are full of emotion and that is what I aim to capture. Genuine, raw, emotive images are what I aim for. If a child wants to smile, he’ll smile. The most effective way to get a genuine smile is to interact with them and get them to laugh or smile naturally, not by saying things like ‘smile’, ‘say cheese’, or ‘look at the camera’.

• Let go of any expectations

This is a hard one. I get it. Just remember why you’re doing the photo session in the first place. The goal is to capture the emotions, the connections, and the personalities of your family as whole and as individuals. Children grow and change so much and so fast. I want you to remember them as they are today. I want you to be able to look at your pictures years down the road and remember who you and your children were in that moment of life.

• Make the photo session a special event

Talk to your children about the photo session ahead of time. Tell them how much fun it’s going to be and make it a really special day. You could even end the day by taking the family out for ice cream afterwards to celebrate a job well done!

By following these few simple, helpful tips, you’re sure to have a successful family photo session. I never want a mom (or dad) to feel stressed before or during a session. I want you to have a good experience and cherish forever the photos that were created during your family’s photo session.