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Do you have a family outdoor portrait session coming up? Just thinking about how your kiddos will behave starts to make your a little anxious. It that’s you, keep reading.

Every mama dreads a melt down in the middle of the shoot–it’s a close second to a meltdown in the middle of the produce aisle on a Saturday in Walmart. When our family had our family shoot with our two year old daughter last fall, I was more worried about her throwing a fit more than anything else.

That’s why I wanted to give you my six essential tips and let you in on a few tricks I do to keep your kids not only lasting the whole hour but keep them happy and walk away saying they had a blast and want to do it again!

We will go over these six tips and tricks on how to keep the kiddos happy during a photo session:

    • How I get their attention
    • Dress for success
    • Bring a favorite toy or an eye catching toy for the littles
    • Bribe ’em! Why I never leave home without gummy bears
    • How I get kids to stay still
    • Essentials to bring: wipes for their nose and snacks

1. How I get Their Attention

Breckenridge Family and Kids Photographer

For the baby and toddlers, this Elmo doll is perfect because it has Velcro legs that I’m sure are supposed to wrap around the side of the crib or stroller. I use it to wrap it around my camera lens and it works really well with voices and they can see their own reflection in the mirror. This little red friend is gold!

2. Dress for Success

Winter here in Breckenridge can be cold, BUT if you’re dressed properly then the sunshine and low humidity make being outside enjoyable. I still recommend bringing lots of layers and even a blanket to your family outdoor portrait session if you have a really small one. Choose cute outerwear that keeps them warm. Even in the summer evenings it’s chilly, so those cute sundresses and sandals you’d wear in Texas won’t be enough. I have a complete style guide I can send you and can even customize a style guide for your session if you request it. Dressing warm is just one way to make sure your kiddo can last as long as possible during our session.

3. Bring a Favorite Toy or an Eye-Catching Toy For the Littles

what to bring to a family session for kids

Does your little one have a favorite lovey? Don’t leave home without it! Stuffed animals and favorite toys go a long way with kids and aid in keeping them happy. I’ve seen LOL surprise dolls, trucks, and bunnies like little Frank’s above on sessions and sometimes they’ve saved the day!

4. Bribe ’em, and Why I never Leave Home Without Gummy Bears

These girls were extra sweet, so we wrapped up our session at the candy shop on Breckenridge Main Street. When we don’t have the the convenience of the candy shop being right there, I do have a little trick though for when we are on a session.

This is why I never leave home without gummy bears. I bring a fresh bag of gummy bears with me on any session with kids. (Are you an adult that loves gummy bears and is easily bribed? Just request them!) I make a theatrical performance out of selecting the gummy bear, then to their horror and surprise, I bite off it’s feet. Then with the sticky exposed part of the gummy bears upper half, I stick the bear to the top of my camera lens. That way, when I need them to look at the camera, I just ask them to smile at the gummy bear. They think it’s pretty special when the gummy bear is still stuck to the top of my camera lens by the end of the session. Then I give them a few gummy bears at the end of the session for being so good.

5. How I Get Kids To Stay Still

Ants in their pants? Not with me! I have a little trick to get the toddlers and elementary age kids to stay right where I want them. Want to know what I do? I keep quarters in my pocket. When I want them to stand in a certain place and not move from that spot, I pull out the quarter and ask them if they’d like to have it. Of course they say yes, so I tell them that I’m going to put it under their shoe. If they can keep it under their shoe until I tell them they can move, they can have it once I’m done. Works every time! Promise you it’s worth the small investment!

6. Essentials to Bring For Your Family Outdoor Portrait Session: Wipes For Their Nose and Snacks

May not be able to tell it here, but Charlie is chowing down on some peanut butter filled pretzels in between shots. I always advise my parents to bring the kids to the session well rested and fed. Eating right before the session limits the hangry outbursts. Even if your little one ate their favorite Mac and cheese before the session, it’s still a good idea to bring a small snack with you on the session.

Want more tips and tricks to keep the kiddos happy during a family session? Just book a family session with me and you can get first hand experience. Nothing like in person training! Hope to see you and your little ones soon!