How to Prepare Your Little Ones For a Fun + Stress-free Session

Your family photo session is right around the corner, and you're feeling a tad anxious about how to keep your sweet (and sometimes salty) little ones smiling and happy during the entire session.

Don't worry, I've got your back! I have been photographing families all over San Diego family for a while now (plus I am a mama, too) so I decided to gather some tried-and-true tips to make your family session easy and stress free. Let's dive in!

Young girl smiling silly at the camera while sitting on blanket with her family in the background.

Let Them Be Themselves

This is my NUMBER ONE TIP!

Encourage your little ones to express themselves and have fun during the session. Allow them to play, explore, and be their goofy selves, even if that means they are loud and silly, I promise I can handle it! To be honest, I prefer it!

Think about it this way, family photo sessions should be about capturing your family just as they are! Plus, if you ask me... candid moments make for the best photos!

A woman and two children enjoying time together in a flower-filled meadow at dusk.

Be The Snack Queen

Filling your little ones tummy before a photoshoot is crucial for ensuring happy moods throughout the session. That said, if your kiddos are anything like mine, they are definitely in a better mood when there are snacks or bribes available. I always recommend that you pack some of your little ones favorite snacks if hunger strikes mid-session.

Pro Tip: Make sure they are messy free snacks like Cheerios so you don't have to worry about stained session outfits.

Two children holding hands in a sunlit field with trees in the background.

Include Fun Activities

One of the easiest ways to keep your kiddos happy and having fun during your session is to incorporate cute activities to keep them entertained. Some of my faves are dancing, singing to their favorite song, picking flowers, a sibling race – anything that brings out their true smiles and laughter!

Man and a small child examining a rock on the beach during sunset.

Bring a Back-up Outfit

It's always a good idea to bring a post-photoshoot outfit, especially if you have young kids. We are going to play and explore, leaving your kids likely get wet and dirty - especially at beach photoshoots, and you'll want them to be comfortable on the drive home. A clean, dry outfit can make all the difference for your drive home, ensuring that everyone stays cozy and happy after a fun photoshoot.

Two children lying on a blanket outdoors, with the younger child resting on the older child's chest.

It's Ok to Take a Break

Your little ones are not robots; they need quiet time and breaks during a photoshoot. As a mom myself, I watch their body language to know when they need a moment to themselves. These breaks often lead to beautiful, candid moments, capturing their true personalities and the love within your family. So, even if your little one is feeling sad or overwhelmed, I embrace these moments, knowing they can result in some of the most heartfelt and authentic photographs.

A family with two children enjoying time together on a sandy beach at sunset.

Focus on Fun, Not Perfection

The goal of the session is to have fun and create cherished memories with your family. Instead of striving for perfection, focus on enjoying the moment and embracing the joy and laughter that comes with it. Let me worry about all the stressful stuff. By prioritizing fun over perfection, you can relax and enjoy the session without feeling pressured to meet unrealistic expectations.

A family enjoying time together on a sandy beach.

Avoid Car Naps for Toddlers

It's important to try to avoid letting your toddler fall asleep in the car on the way to a photoshoot. Waking up in an unfamiliar place, with a stranger pointing a camera at them, can be disorienting and upsetting. It can be challenging to quickly adjust and turn on the happy moods and smiles we want to capture. You can't always control a car cat nap, but it's worth trying your best for a smoother photoshoot experience.

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Tiffany Kelterer San Diego Family and Maternity Photographer Headshot

Welcome to my happy place!

I'm Tiffany, a San Diego-based family, maternity, & motherhood photographer, capturing moments drenched in golden sunlight. Consider me your guide for capturing the magic of your family's love.

With a passion driven by being a mom myself, I specialize in candid connections & genuine laughter. As a storyteller, I thrive on capturing your beachside giggles or sun-kissed adventures.

Ready to plan your adventure?