4 Tips To A Stress Free Portrait Experience With The Kiddo's

It’s often I hear from parents things like, “My kid can’t sit still for more than a few seconds”, or “you may have a hard time wrangling little Johnny but Sarah will totally listen to you”. 

Here’s the thing, we got you! Our session are centered around the chaos. All we need is just that one moment where they give us the “look” that creates the portrait you’ve always wanted. We’ve worked with many children of all different energy levels and have our ways to create the moment we need. That said, here are a few tips as you prep your children, and yourself, for your next portrait session. 

Don’t ask them to smile

My first tip is, don’t ask them to smile and don’t say “cheeeeese”. In fact, don’t even talk about smiling ahead of time. If you have young children, tell them a day or two before your session that you’re going to a park with a friend and they’re bringing their camera. It’s going to be really fun, and you’re really excited. When our kids know that we’re excited about something, generally they’re more likely to get on board. Overly preparing them for how they should (or shouldn’t) smile or behave doesn’t always work. In fact, in my experience, it can often make it worse. They come into the session with pressure knowing they’re supposed to behave in a certain way, versus coming in and just having fun. No expectations, just fun.

Don’t set expectations

Having your family photos taken is exciting and I understand that you’re probably imagining all the things you are going to do with the beautiful images that you will have of your family. This is normal, and I encourage it! However, it’s important that you don’t arrive at the session with preconceived notions of how the session will go (especially with toddlers). It’s the job of an experienced photographer to set the children (and parents) at ease and have a good time. Sessions with little ones should be fun, enjoyable, and natural. Forcing kids to sit still for too long usually creates forced expressions and often makes children less cooperative. A good photographer will have you moving all around, being playful, and interacting as a family. Don’t put any pressure on your kids or yourself and everyone is more likely to have a good time.

Have fun

Mom and dad, this tip is for you! If your children see that you’re having fun, they’re bound to jump in and have fun too. Don’t be afraid to be yourself in front of the camera. Be goofy. Dance and sing with your children as you normally would at home. The more comfortable you are in front of the camera, the more comfortable your children will be too. This is when their true personalities will shine, and your photographer will be capturing it all.

Roll with the Punches

I want you to know that photographers have seen it all. If it hasn’t happened with my own child, it has happened during a session. Trust me, nothing your child does during our session will surprise me. I’m not here to judge your parenting or your discipline skills. I’m here to have fun with you and document this stage in your lives. Sit back and relax. I promise that even if it seems like it’s going terribly, if you roll with it, you’ll be sure to walk away with the portraits you love!


Most of all, treat your family portrait session as a fun family experience or weekend getaway. 

Now that you know how to prepare for stress free portraits, check out our Top 10 Favorite photo locations in greater Sacramento and let’s plan your ideal session!

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