top of page

How to get prepared for your yearly FAMILY photo shoot

little girl with a frown face holding a yellow flower

Are you worried that your kid's faces are going to look like THIS in your family pictures this year?

Ok... sometimes a frowny face can be pretty cute too!

Instead of a frown, you want some real, genuine smiles!

As Sandy Springs premier portrait photographer I can tell you it's not as hard as you might think!

Here's how you make genuine smiles happen.

1. Stop worrying

family of 3 sitting on a blanket on grass holding each other

Kids can feel your stress! The more you stress about getting perfect pictures, the less likely your chances are of getting them to relax.

Take a deep breath. Know that kids will be kids.

I expect them to wiggle, frown, and even cry.

Let them.

I've never had a session where we didn't get the images we wanted!

Perfect is overrated

anyway! 😉

brother and sister sitting on bench and giggle

2. Don't tell them to say cheese... please!

This outdated phrase comes up all the time, which is fine and understandable! But smiles are not the only thing I'm looking for.

Sometimes, a simple expression without a "fake" or "cheesy" smile is even better!

I strive to capture their true self. Those little in-between moments are so joyful and full of spirit!

Children can go from happy to sad in a split second, and that's totally ok and expected. But the best smiles and expressions come from true interaction, instead of being told to say cheese.

3. Make them comfortable

family from behind walking away and holding hands

When talking and prepping them for their portrait session, try to be super positive! I know Dad may not always be excited --- ha! But kids pick up on if something is a fun event or something to be worried about.

Make them comfortable with the session by...

  • talking about the session with excitement

  • dressing them in clothes they like and are comfortable in

  • giving them time when we get there to ease into the session

  • not being in a rush

  • prepare them to have fun and play!

These little souls pick up on all of our worries, so helping them be comfortable helps me to capture your family just as they are.

father and toddler son joking around and having fun

4. Shower them with love

During your session, there is only one thing that is required.

SHOWER them with love.

Seriously, the more snuggles the better.

When a child feels safe and loved, they're not only going to behave better, they will look better and happier!

The entire POINT of portraits is to capture your family as they are.

Not as a magazine poster.

But to capture that connection.

The way little Sarah buries her head in your shoulder.

The way baby Ella tries to eat your face.

Even how your twin boys like to poke each other and say poop.

It's all real, it's ALL important, and it can make for the most beautiful, genuine pictures.

3 generation family having fun on bench and being silly

5. Remember you hired a professional outdoor family photographer

During the session, let me work with your kids to encourage them into happy, engaged portraits.

There’s no need for you to command your kids to sit up straight or smile at the camera for your professional family photos.

In fact, sometimes it can be counter-productive.

Let them misbehave a little. If I need your help to wrangle them, don't worry, I'll let you know.

Talk with your kids, swap jokes with them, and play little games. And let me worry about creating the images.


  • Have everyone fed before the session

  • Bring extra snacks! (non-messy ones like smarties, pretzels, etc)

  • Bring water

  • Bribes for after the session are encouraged (ice-cream date etc.)

  • Have fun!

Want to see how easy it is?

Contact me and we can get you set up for a fun, happy session, whether for your whole family or just one child.


bottom of page