How to ensure success with small kids at your family photo session


Tips to keep you present, in the moment, and kids happy

Hudson Valley Family and Newborn Photographer

In theory, I would bet that you are looking for that picture perfect photo session with your young family to preserve this season of life, and create beautiful memories. But the reality is, you are worried about your toddler’s tantrums, your infant’s cranky spells, or your school age child’s strong willed personality- all clashing with the vision you have in your mind of those perfect smiles for the camera. Being a mom of two small kids myself, I completely get it! The best way to tackle the unpredictable is to change your mindset about what your expectations are and should be. Combining this with some tangible tips and advice will ensure a successful and low stress experience for the whole family.

Mindset is everything- totally and completely. The reason I love lifestyle photography so much, is that it aims to capture true personalities and what is really going on with your life and family. I’m sure your thinking, well that sounds good in theory but there is no way it would look good for my family! I promise it can, and it will. During my sessions, I try to engage children in real activities that they would do on a normal day. I try to get to know my families before our session, so I have an idea of what your children are interested in. Is your daughter into dancing to music, picking flowers, or playing chase? Then we make it happen! Does your son love to play in the dirt, look for fish in a pond, or play hide and seek? We do a lot of playing, exploring, and laughing- and the end result will be better than you could have imagined! I try to engage in activities that are truly fun for them, so that I can illicit true emotion and personality. If all I do is stand there, and tell your kids to smile for my camera for 30 minutes, I know I will lose them. So I don’t want to do that!

I usually will try to get posed pictures at the beginning of our session, so that the rest of the session can feel fun and laid back. If you happen to have a cranky baby, or tired toddler, we make the most of the situation. A few tips I tell families:

  • Bring snacks to make sure your kids always have full tummies! Bribing with chocolate/candy always works too!

  • If your child has a security object, feel free to bring to the session. If we need to use it, it just may do the trick to help comfort your child.

  • We will communicate before our session to come up with a few activities to keep your kids engaged and stimulated during our time together.

  • Mamas with infants- if you need to nurse, change a diaper, or take a few minutes to console- its all good!

  • Sometimes, the strongest and most emotional photographs are created out of emotional extremes. Little kids experience a range of emotions in any given day, hour, or minute. It may seem stressful at the time, but I promise that you will love looking back at all the parts of them, even if they are not always smiling every second.

  • Let go of what you can’t control. Sometimes, with all of the things we can try to do to help a child cooperate, they just may not be feeling it, and that is totally OK. Trust your photographer! I will still capture gorgeous images of them, and showcase their personalities. It may seem crazy in the moment, but I promise you will still get beautiful photographs of all of your kids from our time together. Embrace the chaos!



I wholeheartedly believe in the power of authentic documentation. Our stories and truths are not only a gift for ourselves, but also through the generations, becoming treasured keepsakes as proof of our place and time. My passion lies in storytelling that focuses on your present moments. Whether our adventures take us deep into the Hudson Valley, high in the Catskill Mountains, or within the comfort of your home, it is always about where you are meant to be and where you feel the most alive.