One of the biggest concerns I get from prospective family clients is how are we going to manage a very active toddler/child for a photo shoot?   That’s a totally valid question! Kids are very active most of the time, and the one day you have something planned that they need to be on their best behavior, they decide to go off the rails lol.  How do I know this? Well, I’ve raised two kids of my own, one of which is special needs, I have two grandchildren, and I was a preschool teacher for 30 years.  I know a little bit about how kids are wired, especially in situations where they are expected to perform on demand.   If this is a concern that keeps you from booking that family session,  I’m here to help!! Below, I’m sharing how you can prepare your child(ren) for their family photo session. Don’t forget to snag my free Family Style Guide.pdf as well.  

three young children sit in the grass and smile at the camera


You see all your friends posting their family photo sessions online and they look like the perfect model family.  What you didn’t see were the blood, sweat, and tears of getting everybody put together before the session.  Let’s face it…Moms are the ones planning the sessions, Dad grins and bears it,  and the kids moan and groan and, if you’re lucky, tolerate it.   Even with all the stress that got you to this point, you CAN have beautiful photos and, even better, a beautiful experience.  I’m here to give you some tips to help get your family excited about the session, and some advice to make it all go off without a hitch!


Here are some tips that I suggest trying to help make this the most successful photo session you can possibly have.

  • Talk to your child(ren) before the session and explain what is going to happen.  If your child(ren) are informed about the situation, it will be less scary for them when they come to the session. Tell them that they are going to meet a new friend who is going to take some pictures of them. Let them know that you’ll be there with them and that we are going to have lots of fun. We won’t just be standing or sitting the entire time.  We will play games too! You can show sample images from my website portfolio, especially the children’s section, to let the kids see that they will have fun and it will be an enjoyable experience.  You can see my portfolio here Portfolio - Stacey Grubbs Photography, LLC
  • Feed your child(ren) before the session.  Nothing throws a wrench into the works like a hangry child haha.  I also advise packing non-messy snacks to bring along just in case hunger strikes right in the middle of the shoot.  Also, clear liquids are best if you are packing drinks.
  • Pack an extra change of clothes in case of an emergency.  Potty accidents happen at the most inopportune moments.
  • Speaking of clothes, pick out a couple of outfits that are in the color scheme that you have chosen and let your child pick what he/she wants to wear.  Make sure the clothing is comfortable and fits well.
  • Behold the power of bribery! I know some people frown upon this, however, they probably haven’t tried to get a two, six, and 10-year-old to sit in one position together, look at the camera, and smile. It’s no easy task! As a photographer, I’m going to give you the green light and tell you that it’s OK to bribe your kids for the sake of good photos.  We have a very limited amount of time to get all of the photos that you need, and I don’t want you to be stressed out or feel crunched for time because little Timmy is having a meltdown, is hiding behind his hands the entire session, or sticking his tongue out at me. So, I welcome bribery with arms wide open.  Every child is different when it comes to bribery. They all have different personalities and like different things. Some children are motivated by candy, others cash. You just have to find out what works best for your child.
  • Is your child attached at the hip to a special “lovie”? Bring it! This will help your child be comfortable in a new, unfamiliar surrounding. Just be aware that this will probably become a prop in some of the photos, so bring something that is pleasing to the eyes or has sentimental value and you’d be okay with photos of it.
  • Bring reinforcements!  Grandma, a baby sitter, (or someone else your child loves) will help your child feel relaxed and surely create some genuine smiles and laughter.
Mom and Dad play ring around the rose in the grass at their family photo session.


In case you’d like to hear a testimonial from a client, I thought I’d share one of the sweet reviews I got recently from a mom that booked a one year milestone session for her daughter.

"Stacey is pure magic! We have used her several times in different seasons of life and are always so impressed with her shots. She’s so quick and amazing to work with. I’ll leave a shoot feeling like there was no way she got anything good with how incredibly hot it was or trying to wrangle a one year old and she ALWAYS delivers the most beautiful photos. She captures all of our big life moments with so much care." - Sarah

one year old baby girl celebrates first milestone with a cake smash photo session.

I hope this was helpful for you! If you’d like for me to capture your family session memories, I’d love for you to contact me here -