How to make an outdoor family photo shoot with children easier

Outdoor family photos

Having a professional family photo shoot can definitely cause some anxiety.
It’s a big investment, and understandable you want it to be perfect.
Here are 6 tips to make your outdoor family photo shoot with children easier and more relaxed:

#1 Keep it Simple

The best thing to remember is to Keep It Simple for kids. Don’t make a big deal about your outdoor family photo session. Let the kids know you are going to the park/beach to have a few fun photos, have some cuddles together, and then they can go play. This will help the children stay engaged with the session, and will give the photographer opportunity to capture some candid photos of the kids having fun being themselves.

Always remember, it’s better to have fewer photos that everyone loves, than to have heaps of photos where everyone is looking stressed and cranky (and believe me, that stress does show in your photos).

It’s important to make the session as fun as possible for little ones. Photographers usually have some tricks up their sleeves to make it fun and engaging too. I like playing games or telling poo and fart jokes.

Children are very intune with our emotional states, and if you are stressing, they will be too. They will be less likely to engage with the session, and more likely to act out.

#2 Be prepared

A little bit of pre-planning and preparing for your outdoor family photo shoot can go a long way to making things run smoothly. Firstly, a good night sleep for everyone is a must. As mentioned before, tired and cranky doesn’t photography well. Do the best you can, but of course, kids are unpredictable, and you can’t always control if they sleep. Therefore, always let your photographer know if your little ones are not feeling up to it, and you need to reschedule. Additionally, try not to schedule your session during naptime.

Here are some other ways you can prepare yourself and the family for the session:
1. Make sure the kids are fed before the session to avoid hangry meltdowns.
2. Bring some easy snacks and water to the photo shoot.
3. Bring some books or activities for the children to occupy themselves between photos or if they need a break.
4. If your session is in the evening, bring some insect repellent in case of bitey bugs.

5. Avoid scheduling other events or activities on the day of the session. Keep the day free and easy, and give yourself plenty of time to get you and the family ready.


#3 Wait to Dress

It’s a well know fact that children are messy. To eliminate the stress of accidental spills or stains on clothing before the photo shoot, my advice is to wait until you arrive at your session to dress the kids. You can also dress them just before getting in the car. For babies, I recommend dressing them just prior to the photo session. Older kids, may be dressed beforehand, as long as they aren’t eating or drinking in the car. Additionally, be sure to bring back up outfits in case your baby or child messes up their clothes before the session is finished.

#4 Let go of expectations

It’s very common to stress about every detail to get the ‘picture-perfect’ family photo. However, not everything goes to plan. And that’s OK!

Try to focus on the bigger picture! You are there to capture your family just as they are at that moment. Don’t sweat the small stuff. For example, is it such a huge deal if your little girl really wants to wear her hair down, wild and free, as opposed to wearing it up or styled in pretty curls?

You may also have a particular style of photo you really want. Such as, all the kids sitting nicely together and smiling. While the photographer will do everything they can to achieve all the shots you want, sometimes the kids just don’t want to play the game. That’s OK! Some compromises may need to be made to keep the peace, and keep the children happy. Happy children = happy parents, and a fun family photo shoot.

#5 Be Patient

Sometimes even with all the preparation in the world, little kids will still act like mischievous little monkeys, or they may be shy or act coy at first. That’s OK! It’s important that you stay calm and let the photographer do their job. Allowing yourself to get worked up will only make the situation worse, and will really bring down the vibe of the session. Please be patient, and trust in the ability and experience of the photographer to work with the kids to bring out their best side. Sometimes the best images of children are taken when they are just being themselves.

You can also help the process by informing the photographer of particular interests the kids may have, or any incentives you might be providing on the day (i.e. ice cream afterwards). This information is helpful for the photographer to use to gain the child’s attention, build rapport, and to help them engage with the session.

#6 Chat with your photographer

During your pre-session discussions with your photographer, It’s important to let them know a little about your child’s personality, and their interests. Kids love talking about themselves and the things they love! This information is very helpful to build rapport and trust with your children, makes them feel comfortable, and keeps the children engaged in the session. For example, If they love a particular movie character, or have a favorite animal; let us know!. The more we have to talk to them about, the easier it will be to get some natural expressions and emotions in the images.

Additionally, please inform your photographer about any behavioural concerns or phobias. It is equally important that we don’t cause unintentional distress to your child by doing or saying the wrong thing.

The most important takeaway message is this:
Relax, and have fun!! You and your family are in good hands.

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