How to get your Kids to cooperate for Family Portraits
Do you have little ones that are wiggle worms? Maybe they don’t like to cooperate much when you’re trying to get a “good” family photo. You’re not alone, and I know how hard it can be. As a mom of two little boys, that don’t like to sit still, I have come up with some simple and creative ways to get them to participate.
Here are some tips on how you get your little ones to cooperate for family photos that have worked for me over the years.
Make it fun!
This is the most important tip. There are endless ways to make your portrait session a fun one. It will all vary on what your little defines to be fun. You can have a tickle party, a dance party, play merry-go-round. Our family favorite is to play some of their favorite tunes. When I start to notice that my little one is not interested, I will ask him if he wants to listen to one of his favorite songs. I will play the song while we are taking the photo, and even dance around with them a little. This allows the kiddos to loosen up and be more comfortable in front of the camera and it also makes a great time for some candid shots.
The best way to do this, is by having a playlist set up for your kids, or hopping onto Youtube and searching for something there. It’s recommended to have some songs prepared ahead of time, just to make things go by a little quicker for the kiddos.
This one is big! The kids will get hungry, thirsty and will often ask for something to snack on. The worst thing to happen during your photography session is having a little one who is hungry. If there are no happy tummies, there are no smiles! I always make sure to pack a snack for my littles. And most the time, I bring a lollipop with me as a reward for cooperating.
Some ideas for snacks: A granola bar, some mixed nuts, or crackers. I also make sure to have something to drink available to them after our session.
Ask them to make a silly face or pose!
This is always a great way to get the kiddos to want to participate more in the session. Humor is essential for a smooth experience. If you start to see that your little one is just not that into it anymore, then just introduce new ways to have some fun. I always ask my kiddos to show me their scariest face, or silliest and this really gets them engaged. Most kiddos will have an idea of something they want to climb, or a certain pose they’d like to try. Like getting them to jump off a tree stump, or over a small area. Just ask and go with it!
Include them in the session!
Children love to be included, and I mean really included. They want to come up and share their ideas. So, I always make sure to include the littles in our session by first asking them if there’s anything they’d like to try. Or by having them take a photo of mom and dad, or one of their siblings. This is always a favorite for the kiddos and the parents. They always love and treasure that capture the most. My little ones love to snap photos on my DSLR, it makes the experience extra special for them.
Offer a lot of breaks!
Kiddos don’t have the patience to take picture after picture and they tend to lose focus quickly. So for this reason, it is important to offer many breaks. About every 10-minutes or so, I like to have the kiddos run around and let off some energy. This is another great time to capture some candids, but also a great opportunity to get photos of just mom and dad and let the kids explore their surrounding.
Stay calm, and let it be!
When your little is not participating during your session, I get it, it’s stressful. But what I feel is most important for a smooth photo session is definitely having mom and dad stay calm. If the entire session mom and dad are overwhelmed because the littles are not smiling, not staying still, or are hungry, etc. then the kiddos will feed off that energy. So, it is best to remember that these images are for you as a family to enjoy. For these portraits to represent who you and your family are. There is no perfect way to take a photo, or no definition of a perfect photo because your family is what makes that capture perfect, and this varies from family to family. So the most important tip of all, is to embrace the memories, soak up the moment, enjoy the experience and give lots and lots of cuddles.
(Check out our post about Seven Places to take Family)
Originally published on July 5, 2022. Last Updated on July 6, 2022 by Pattie Cordova