How to get your kids to cooperate during family photos | Making family photos FUN! | San Diego Family Photographer

If you are someone who tries to have family photos taken semi-regularly this blog post is for you! I’m sure you can relate to the stress and struggle of getting everyone prepped and ready for your photography session. Between picking outfits, scheduling the session, and getting your husband onboard with taking family photos [Click here for help with that]- you’re probably stressed out before you even arrive at your session. 

I totally get it. I have been there myself. Photography is important to me- not just as a photographer, but as a mother. I want to document our family and have photos of my husband and I with our kids as they are grow up. But I was making myself and everyone else miserable because I was stressed about the whole process. Top it off with not knowing if my kids would cooperate during the shoot and it's no wonder my husband looked so grumpy every year when I mentioned it was time for our annual family photos.

But friends, I've figured out how to change all that and I’m here to help you do the same! I’ve put together a list of tips to help you stress less and make family photos FUN. 

  1. Let go of perfection.
    When I was young our family photos were taken in a studio. Everyone looking at the camera, smiling. The photos are nice- in a traditional way. But times have changed and in an era where everyone has a camera on them at all times, the standard of a nice family photo has expanded. Please know, that during your session not every photo needs to be everyone looking at the camera, smiling perfectly. If you are having photos taken to document this stage of your life, then having a collection of photos where you’re all smiling at the camera is not truly telling your story. Get the traditional shot, but then enjoy each other. Hug, play, tickle your kids. Show your photographer who your family is. Are you silly and playful with your kids at home? Be that way at your shoot!

2. Be relaxed.
Dogs can smell fear, and kids can smell stress. And when Mom and Dad are stressed don’t our kids act the exact opposite of how we want them to?! If you are relaxed you’re more likely to have fun with your kids and in turn they will have fun with you. Enjoying your time with each other in front of the camera is the goal!

3. Just keep smiling.
No matter what is going on- just. keep. smiling. If you are anywhere in the shot- smile. Not necessarily AT the camera- you can be looking at your child, husband, wife, whoever but smile because, well…it just looks better than having a photo where your kid looks adorable and you have RBF. 


4. Rewards and bribes
Who doesn’t like to earn incentives for good work? I do! My kids are more motivated to do something if they know there’s a lego mini fig or ice cream as a reward. I know it’s not applicable in all areas of life, but why not make family photos more fun with a trip to a donut or ice cream shop afterward? Or reward the whole family with dinner at a restaurant after your session!


5. Keep your eye on the prize.
Remember why you are taking family photos in the first place. Life is short and precious. These people are the most important beings in the world to you. Keep that in the front of your mind and let the little things go

Bottom Line: Everything doesn't have to go perfectly and your kids don't have to behave perfectly to get beautiful family photos. Sometimes there is more beauty in imperfection.

I hope these tips help everyone in your family enjoy your next session and make your photography experience more FUN. What tricks do you use with your family? I'd love to hear you go-to ideas.