Most parents want to take professional photos as a family to send out to loved ones during the holiday season or to put on display throughout the house. Although family photos are considered to be valuable and timeless to many people, it can also be challenging to pull off with kids in tow. When you’re preparing for your upcoming family portrait session, there are a few ways to ensure it’s successful.

1. Bring Snacks

Kids are prone to getting antsy and cranky once they begin to get hungry during the photoshoot. Make it a point to bring snacks along to keep them occupied and smiling when the photographer starts to capture your family. Consider packing snacks that are healthy and won’t cause your children to get a sugar high. The snacks should also be mess-free to protect their clothing from spills or stains. Pack a bag full of dried fruit, nuts, crackers, and cheese to keep them energized without crashing a few minutes after they eat.

2. Schedule Naps Before the Photo Session

One of the most common mistakes that many parents make when planning a family photoshoot is scheduling the session at the time of their kids’ naps. Although the outdoor lighting may be ideal in the afternoon, it can also mean having to deal with kids that become fussy and tired as you try to get them to pose for the camera. Make it a point to put them down for naps one to two hours before it’s time to leave for the session to ensure they feel OK. Having rested kids will allow them to behave better and act more like themselves.

It’s also important to keep in mind that your children will likely become bored and can start to misbehave after 20 minutes. 20 minutes is the average attention span of most children during photo shoots, which means you need to lower your expectations with the number of pictures you plan to get. Don’t expect to spend two hours frolicking in the woods together or posing in a field because kids will likely want to move on to another activity. Avoid scolding or discipline your kids for acting like children, which will likely result in a meltdown and won’t make for good photos.

3. Don’t Expect to Pose

Some of the best photos that are captured by photographers are candid and capture families interacting with each other. Don’t try to get your kids to pose with their hands on their hips if they’re beginning to get impatient. Making it a fun activity where you spend time together in a new setting can improve the quality of the photos and will allow them to appear more natural. Your children will feel more at ease if they aren’t forced to try something new but are allowed to roam around and interact with their siblings. According to babycenter.com, don’t ask them to freeze everything and say, “Cheese!” because it won’t get you what you’re looking for with the photos.

4. Make it Fun

Your kids will likely be on their best behavior if you make the family portrait session fun. Consider bringing along bubbles or a few props that will create stunning images while spending time outdoors. If your kids are having fun, then they won’t feel like taking photos is work and will continue to engage with you as the photographer works their magic.

5. Shoot the Photos on a Cloudy Day

Parents.com recommends scheduling the photos on a cloudy day, which will still offer plenty of natural light without making everyone sweat. The sunlight is gentle and golden on cloudy days, which will be comfortable for all of your family members and will create stunning images. The photographer can adjust the ISO number on their camera to prevent the photos from appearing dim.

Although it may be intimidating to take pictures as a family and get everyone to behave, there are ways to make it a smooth and enjoyable experience. By following the right tips, your kids are more likely to have fun and look their best while spending time in front of the camera.

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