Family Photo Session in Hornchurch How To Keep Kids Happy During A Photo Session

Sometimes in our pre-session consultation parents mention that their kids don’t like having their photos taken, they are shy, wary of strangers and ask me how we can keep the kids happy during a photo session. I have photographed numerous families with some children being more extrovert than others and luckily I have a few tricks ups my sleeve that will keep even the most shy kids happy during our time together. It has a lot to do with one little word: FUN.

how to keep kids happy at family session

keep toddlers happy during photo session at home

As soon as I arrive at my clients’ house I try to get to know the little people better. I compliment their outfits, ask them to show me their rooms and their favourite toys – quite often this breaks the initial ice. Other than that, here are some of my tips on how to keep kids happy during a photo session.

Stay connected

Our time together is a special time for all of you. No phones, no televisions, no distractions. For that reason I want you to engage with your kids and enjoy the moment. Cuddle them, make them laugh, tickle them, and cuddle some more. Reassure them that you are nearby and this is a fun experience and nothing to be worried about. Talk to them about their favourite toys, films, cartoons, characters, books etc. This makes them feel special and at ease, which shows in photos.

mum cuddling shy toddler girl

tattooed dad holding his shy toddler girl in his arms


The best photos are the ones that are unscripted, candid and natural. Get down on the floor and play with your small kids, or run after your bigger kids! Movement always results in children being engaged, entertained and smiling from ear to ear. That’s also when the real emotions come out. And that’s where the magic is.

how to keep children happy during family photo session

small girl playing in wooden shed

mum playing with two small girls in purple wooden shed in garden

little girl sticking tongue out while playing in garden shed

how to keep kids happy during family photo session

A small reward

Yes, I do mean bribery… but it doesn’t have to be sweets, it can be whatever you choose. A trip to a park, an extra cartoon or a book in the evening. A prospect of something exciting waiting for kids after you’re done with your photo session is sometimes enough to keep the little people willing to cooperate during our time together.

black and white candid portrait of small girl

And when in doubt…

… ask for snuggles and cuddle them some more. This is almost always the antidote to any stress and shyness, plus I absolutely love taking photos of these emotion-filled cuddles!

tattooed dad holding toddler baby girl close to his chest

If you are interested in learning more about a family session or booking one for yourself, please get in touch.

Alina Clark - A family and lifestyle documentary photographer based in Essex

A little bit about me

My name is Alina and I am a documentary family photographer based in Essex, United Kingdom. I love capturing everyday life just the way it is – unscripted, a bit messy and extraordinary in the most ordinary way.

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