Figuring out how you will keep your child happy during your photoshoot is just as important as selecting what to wear! Because let’s face it, you probably won’t be all smiles if your child is throwing a tantrum or not cooperating because they are hungry or tired during your family photo session.

Here are 2 tips that will likely lead to a tear-free family session:

1. Pack a snack! Plan on bringing snacks that are not messy and will not turn your child’s tongue purple (lollipops, m&m’s, etc.). We all know that snacks can do wonders with kids! They can stop or dry tears if a child is hAngry, and they can also serve as a reward or bribe to get your child to cooperate. I don’t usually use snacks to get a child to smile because that often leads to a cheesy/fake smile. However, snacks can work wonders if used in the right way. My almost 2 year old loves snacking in general, so if I know we’ll be doing a photo-session, I know that I can bribe her with treats that she does not get very often (her cooperation=another bite of a snack). Some of her favorites are soft fruit snacks by Plum Organics, a soft cereal bar, & any type of sweet cereal.

2. Don’t plan to do your photoshoot around sleeping hours. It is important for you to select a start time that is not during or really close to nap-time or bedtime. You likely won’t get golden hour photos if your child’s bedtime is before sunset, but there are likely many locations with shade to choose from that will allow you to do a daytime family session. Another option (if you really want golden hour photos) is to do a sunrise session on the weekend if it isn’t too early and if you know your child is a morning person.

Check out these photos that were taken 3-4 hours before sunset. Really, all you need for great daytime photos is some shade, a photographer that is experienced with taking daytime photos (since not all photos need shade) & of course someone that has experience working with kids! I am a mommy to an active toddler and a former nanny, so I have quite the experience working with kids of all ages.

What are some things that you’ve found to be helpful to keep your child in a happy mood, or to get your child to cooperate during a photoshoot or in general? I’d love to hear some other tips and tricks in the comment box below!