When I’m photographing the kiddos, I love getting on their level and watching them explore. From playing with flowers to hamming it up for the camera, these are some of my favorite moments to capture. When it comes to Family Sessions, you just have to let go of all expectations. Kids will be kids. Instead of forcing them into a particular pose, why not capture them as they are?

The following SIX tips will help you have a successful Family Session with little ones:

1. Make sure everyone is well fed, napped, and ready to head out the door well before your session time. This allows a buffer for items you may have forgotten, or your little one refusing to put on the shoes. Parents-You know what I’m talking about, haha! Don’t forget those baby wipes, diapers, and drool rags too!

2. This leads me to #2. Bring snacks! Sometimes we all need a bit of bribery if things aren’t running as smoothly. Snacks are a helpful resource to tap into to get more cooperation from the kiddos. If they have a favorite toy or something that makes them light up when they see it. Feel free to bring that too.

3. Wear clothes that everyone is comfortable in. It’s one thing to pick gorgeous outfits that everyone coordinates beautifully in. However, if there are itchy fabrics or things that make you uncomfortable, it’s going to show on you, and especially on the kids’ faces.

4. Bring a fun playlist of some of your kids’ favorite songs. I’m sure you’d rather not listen to another Cocomelon song, but if it gets them excited and skipping around. I’d say it’s well worth it! I like to bring a portable speaker with me and play music during my sessions for some added fun.

5. Plan a fun activity as a family after the session. Whether that’s a picnic in the park, heading out for ice cream, etc. That will give them something to look forward to and also help promote cooperation during the session.

6. Last but not least, toss all expectations out the window. I’ve seen some of my sweet families get stressed when their little ones aren’t being cooperative or are a little extra cranky that day. Rest assured that I’m ready to crawl around in the grass, set up some fun games for them, and interact with them on a personal level. This will diffuse crankiness and bring on belly laughter. Being a Mama of an 8 and 2-year-old definitely helped with this. I like to start with any traditional poses first since most kiddos are happiest right out the gate. The rest is a bonus!