how to prepare kids for a studio shoot

How to get the best out of your children during a studio photoshoot. Children & family photographer based in Essex also covering Suffolk, Cambridge & Hertfordshire

Studio shoots are not always that thrilling for young children: Kids are confined to a space, asked by parents to behave, sit nicely, smile but in a non creepy way and stop hitting their sibling.  Sometimes they just wake up from a nap and at times not even allowed that snack until the shoot is over because we (mum) don’t want crumbs on the new top.

I get it, from both sides. So let me give you these simple (some obvious) tips:

  • Do tell your child, especially if he/she is young that you are going to go somewhere to have pictures taken today. Its nice to get them involved but no need to ‘oversell’ the idea, just let them know you’d like some nice pictures and maybe give a couple to Nana too.
  • Bribery – of course we NEVER do that, right? But a little incentive – I prefer that term – goes a long way. It can be a little something they can get after the shoot but as a parent this is probably the most obvious tip we all have already thought about and put into practise for any other situations requiring your child’s cooperation.
  • For little ones, avoid booking a session too close to their nap or feeding time. Ideally plan it after their nap or in the morning right after breakfast.
  • Avoid more than 2 outfits changes and choose clothes that are easy to put on. Babies and young children can get easily frustrated at being forced into a roll neck – forget there’s reindeers on it and its for Christmas, the kiddos are probably already too hot and won’t be too impressed

That’s it really – You do not need to do anymore to prepare your child because I simply take care of the rest…

First of all I try to keep the sessions short so that no one gets bored. I work fast and respond to the childs moods so whether he/she sits still or runs around I adapt because more importantly you’ll get the most natural images. If you child is of the bouncy nature, there is absolutely no point in asking him to sit still.

I always introduce myself to the children and take interest in their likes. It is important to form a bond before I start snapping away, I need to establish that connection and gain their trust. I love getting to a child’s level – probably because I think they have a magical  life and I envy that or because I still haven’t matured quite yet myself?! – I find it easy to find topics of discussion with your little ones and usually get the most shy ones on my side eventually.

But THE most important tip I will give is that whatever the outcome of the shoot, whatever mood your child is in, do not stress or get angry at them. One because children pick up on parents emotions quite quickly and will never respond in the way we want them to, also because I want you to trust fully what I am doing and rest assured that I always get more than enough images for you to choose. I only need 125th of a second to snap that brief smile after all.

Young children will often play up – please do not stress, I have children I understand and I always allocate plenty of time for a session so you are not time limited.

And comes the very worst case scenario (which has not happened yet) we can always reschedule your shoot… All is under control

  • Grandparents, we know you mean well…

When it comes to the way I work I also ask parents to bring only those people to be included in the pictures – if possible. Only because it gets quickly crowded in the studio, too noisy or distracting for the little ones. Especially for young children, excessive stimulation of people trying to entertain during the shoot can get them cranky and tired very quickly. I also get the children to interact with me, with minimum people around it is much easier to establish that connection. As much as I found it once super entertaining to watch Nana dance, sing and do muppet theatre behind my back to make her grandson smile, it made it really confusing for this little boy to know where to look or even understand what was going on!

Ultimately what we have at the end of the session is kiddos who had fun and parents leaving happy.

To book a session in the studio, drop me a line at

I also often attend the Basking Babies massage sessions as a special guest offering a Basking Babies special tariff on the day I am invited. If you would like to enquire about baby massage and baby yoga I invite you to visit and check out those awesome classes for mums & babies

Stéphanie Fairweather – Family Photographer 07854815859