How to Prepare Kids for Family Photos



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Children, Family Photography

As a Child and Family Photographer in San Luis Obispo, CA, I take on a large amount of photo sessions involving little kids. A professional photo session is an exciting experience.  But what if your child doesn’t behave on the day of your session?! As a San Luis Obispo photographer, I am never bothered by children’s behavior. I will do my best to interact with your child and make the experience fun and memorable.  I love photographing children and capturing their personality. Over the years, I have learned that there are a few factors that will impact your child’s behavior. Here are some recommendations to prepared your kids for family photos:

1. Tell your kids about the family session

As soon as you book your family session, make sure to tell your kids about it. Talk to them about what to expect and emphasize how much fun it’s going to be. You can even go to my website and show them a picture of me to help them understand who will be photographing them. If your child is old enough, set the expectation of how you would like them to behave during the shoot.

2. Schedule your family session around naps

Make sure to schedule the session around nap time. Kids can get grumpy and really uncooperative if they’re tired. Let your photographer know what time your kids take a nap and schedule your session around their naps.

San Luis Obispo Photographer

3. Eat before your photo session

Make sure they’ve had plenty to eat before arriving and bring extra snacks.  Try to bring snacks that are small and not messy. Nothing that will leave a stain on their mouth.

San Luis Obispo Photographer

4. Dress your kids in comfy clothes

If your child hates what they are wearing it’s going to show in the family photos.  That may mean getting rid of that adorable hair clip or the sweet bow tie that just makes the outfit perfect…trust me, happy kids make better photos than accessories.  Also, dress with the weather in mind.  You want to make sure your child isn’t too cold or hot. Have all of your outfits picked out before the day of your photo shoot so you are not adding any more stress to your day

Monarch Butterfly Grove -San Luis Obispo Photographer

5. Let them play during the session

There will be a time for perfectly posed photos but make sure there is also some time to play. If we are doing a session at the beach, bring extra clothes and let them play in the water and sand.

Monarch Butterfly Grove

6. Don’t force the kids to smile

This is a big one!!! Resist the urge to say things like “Don’t smile like that, give me a real smile”.  The best way to get a ‘real smile’ is to actually make your child laugh or smile.  So instead of telling them how they should look I focus on being silly and eliciting genuine emotions from them.

San Luis Obispo Photographer

If you are interested in booking a session, visit Rosa Clark Photography. I would be more than happy to give you more ideas on how to prepare your children for your family photos.


  1. Robyn Scherer says:

    Love all of your work AND the tips! Thanks.

  2. Absolutely! Love these tips!

  3. Oh my gosh so many good tips!!!

  4. These are some awesome tips! Sooo helpful when prepping for a session.

  5. Valerie Eidson says:

    These are some awesome tips! Sooo helpful when prepping for a session.

  6. Kim says:

    Oh, I love these tips, Rosa! Wonderful post and I love the images!

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