How To Prep Young Kids For Family Photos

Fall family season is officially here and I’m loving capturing returning clients and meeting new ones! I always want to prep families with young kids for their family photos, because I know how chaotic it can be for them. There are a lot of factors that go into play when taking family photos with young children: nap times, meals, early bedtimes…not to mention active kiddos and cooperative behavior. Coming into your family session stressed and on edge is not the look you want to create in your final images. Below are a few tips I tell my clients to take into consideration when prepping young kids for their family photos.

4 Tips on How to Prep Young Kids For Family Photos

1. Make Your Session the Main Event of the Day

As a mom of 4, I know how much work it takes to get young kids fed, diapered, dressed, shoes on, and loaded up in the car. When my kids were babies and toddlers I was absolutely exhausted by the time I had them all strapped into their carseats! Not only is it a big deal for parents to take young kids out of the house for an extended amount of time, it’s a lot on your kiddos as well. Because of these reasons, I always recommend making your session the main event of the day. If at all possible, avoid scheduling your session on a day you have soccer practice, a birthday party, or swim lessons. Keep the day mellow and relaxed; stick to a good nap schedule if your kids are still nappers. When your session time rolls around, you’ll hopefully be rested.

Image of young children taking family photos

2. Treat Your Session Like a Fun Family Outing

After a quiet, mellow day, hopefully your family is ready to get outside and have some fun! In my client preparation emails, I always say to treat your session like a fun family outing. San Diego is such a beautiful city with many different places to explore. From the beach to trails to the iconic Balboa Park, there’s no shortage of locations for your family session. Viewing your session as a chance to enjoy what San Diego has to offer, while capturing your family unit, is a way to enter into our time together relaxed and connected to your people.

Image depicting family taking family photos with young children
Image depicting a family with parents and how to prep young kids for family photos
Image depicting family taking photos with a baby and toddlers
Images of mom and baby during a family photoshoot in San Diego

3. Focus on Interacting With Your Kids Rather Than Posing

Speaking of relaxed and connected, this is exactly what I hope to capture with my camera. My primary goal as a San Diego family photographer, is to capture the love you have for your people. The more you focus on playing with your kids, tickling your baby, snuggling up to your toddler and sharing a quiet moment with your spouse, the better your images will turn out. Authenticity always captures beautifully.

Image of a baby during a family photoshoot in San Diego
Image of parents taking photos of the two of them during a family photoshoot

My Final Tip for Prepping Young Kids for Family Photos,
Is To Be Present

I get it. You’ve booked your family session, carefully selected your outfits, prepped your kids and managed to arrive on time. These photos are ones you will print on your Christmas cards, make into gifts for grandparents and frame in your home. You want these photos to come out perfectly so that you know all of this work was worth it! I’ve been in your shoes, on the other side of the camera, so believe me when I say–I understand! However, I also know that my favorite family photos that are framed in my own home, are ones of me and my husband being present with our children. The ones where we are enjoying being a family, engaged with our children, snuggling together and laughing with one another. There’s something powerful about being present with those you love and in the images we create–it shows.

San Diego family photographer
Photoshoot of girl and how parents prep young kids for family photos
Image of how to prep young kids for family photos
San Diego family photography

So, are you ready to get in front of the camera, young kids and all?! It may feel like a feat but I promise it is always worth it!

XO, Desiree

Desiree Jacobs Photography is based in San Diego, CA