Portrait Tips for Sessions with Little Kids

Do you want genuine, fun, candid, happy portraits of your kids but don’t know where to start? Read below for clothing tips, what to avoid, what to bring, and how to prepare for a successful portrait session with little kids.

1. Clothing Tips for Little Ones

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Be sure the clothing fits your little well, if it is too big it will look too big in the portraits. For girls in skirts or dresses be sure they are wearing a pair of coordinating shorts or bloomers to cover up undies and diapers. If your baby isn’t standing or walking yet chose an outfit that looks good when the baby is sitting up or being held. Onesies paired with pants or skirt are better than shirts and avoid constant re-tucking during the session. Use fashion tape for unruly collars, overall straps, and loose suspenders. It’s always a good idea to bring a backup outfit for the littlest family member–if you have a little you know why 🙂

2. Let go, have fun, and be forgiving.

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Have realistic expectations of what your young child will do during the session. Most toddlers will not sit still for a perfectly posed portrait and we don’t expect them to. Relax and save your sanity by embracing the essence of that age and the authenticity of their blooming personalities. Sometimes the very best photos from a session come from a kid just doing their own wild and wiggly thing (see our family portfolio for proof). As much as you’ll want to direct your child on where to stand and how to pose, it’s best to leave that to us. We have several games, tricks, and methods to coax those giggles out and create genuine moments to capture on camera.

3. Plan an activity that the kids enjoy doing.

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Several of the most successful portrait sessions have incorporated an activity that the kid loves to do. This gives them something to do with their hands and feet, engages the little ones, and brings an authentic smile to their face. Does your child love to read? Bring some books. Is their favorite dessert popcorn? A jumbo-sized theater tub of it would be so fun to throw around. Other ideas include: a favorite lovie, football, bubbles, piggy back rides, balloons, bike riding, kite flying, singing, picnics, the ideas are endless! Keep in mind the location of the shoot and clothing style and colors when choosing what to bring.

4. Bring Snacks & Drinks

Little kids sometimes need a break mid session to recharge. Having a favorite snack and clear drink handy can be very helpful if a meltdown is about to happen. Small snacks that don’t make crumbs are the best. Pieces of fruit, fruit snacks, trail mix, Smarties, or anything can be eaten quickly and won’t smear all over faces. Unless it’s the theme of the session you should avoid messy foods like chocolate, cookies, and especially Oreos. They make a big mess with crumbs everywhere–faces, fingers, outfits.

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