Little girl running through a Christmas tree farm

We all take so many pictures of our kids, but it can be hard to get that ideal picture when your little champ or princess won’t stay still! When you direct your kids to make a specific pose, they seem to behave unusually, roll their tongues or do weird things that they wouldn’t normally do.  We have a specific outcome in mind, so we direct our children to do what we want by forcing poses and making demands like: “Stand still!”, or “Stop making that face!” If there’s one thing you can depend on, it is that if you give a little child a direct order it is likely that they won’t listen or will do the opposite! As mothers, we know that kids are not always the most joyful little creatures. If handled properly, kids should love photo sessions!  Here are some things I try to lighten up the approach, so your children remain happy and relaxed, and this is likely to make them love having their pictures taken by me!

Make Them Feel at Home

There is no need to be in a great hurry when taking photos of children. They don’t act to order, so in some cases, you just have to be patient and let them get used to exactly where they are and who they are with (I always like to get to talk to and relate with children before I take their pictures if possible). And there’s no strong benefits to photographing kids in a studio—why not capture on location at a place that is unique and purposeful to you, whether it’s your house, a play area, by the lake, or at parks or nature trails? Understanding makes us all relax, and specifically children, so some wonderfully candid photos can be taken when your child seems totally at ease.

Leave Them Be

Toddler sitting in red chair outside with a huge smile on his face. He is happy because he is holding his stuffed turtle.

If you cannot get a smile from kids, just leave them be. Give them some cute items and things with which they can play, or let them explore the space on their own. Stay back, let them create their own poses, and I will take pictures without bothering them. After they explore and get more comfortable with the situation, children are more likely to smile when asked, or to sit for a family photo.  I always ask the children to participate, and it always results in better pictures and happier kids that want to be photographed.

Chat with the Kids

I won’t restrict the shots to stiff poses with cheesy, head-on smiles. Many photographers including myself, talk to children and get excellent shots of their expressions and responses during the chat. Some super funny and silly questions to ask for humorous reactions are: “Is the moon your best friend?”, “Do you have a girlfriend or boyfriend?”, or “How old do you think your parents are?” Also, having children make funny faces always results in giggles and real smiles in the end.


Outdoors can Make a Great Backdrop

Two images of a little girl playing in the fall leaves

The outdoors can make an excellent backdrop for family pictures, and most kids are more pleased outdoors than indoors. Let kids be crazy in the grass, climb trees, or just be themselves. You might even interact with them during their favorite outdoor activities, like hanging on swings, having a tea party, playing imaginative games, or really anything they enjoy because this will make them happy and I can capture many great photos during this time.

Engage Them

Kids always ask to see their pictures after I take them, because they are used to seeing them on your cell phone after you take their photo. Allowing them to see their photo keeps your children happy, and will make them more apt to do more, and to let me pose them for those one or two images you really wanted.  You also have to realize that doing all this could also result in wonderful pictures that were not planned, and sometimes a pouty face is just as adorable as a cute smile 🙂

Two images of family with toddler at Christmas tree farm

If you have any questions for me about setting up a location or outfits to consider for a family or children photography session, feel free to email me or give me a call!  If you liked Kids Should Love Photo Sessions, sign up for the Samantha McAllister Photography Newsletter to get great content like this straight to your inbox!

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Family Photography Sessions
Service Type
Family Photography Sessions
Provider Name
Samantha McAllister Photography,
Western New York
You won't regret hiring Samantha McAllister Photography for your family portraits, because she knows how to relate to your family and get those wonderful shots!