How To Get Children to Be Comfortable During a Session

Everyone knows that ALL my children are grown, living on their own, married and mostly all have children of their own.


I have also been around A LOT of children, not afraid of children and once was even a child myself. As a pre-teen and even older, I can vividly remember me begging my younger siblings to take photos every chance I could get; I also remember them hating every moment of it.


Now that I am a photographer and behind the camera getting children who are not my own to smile for photos regularly, I have a little more understanding from the other side of the camera. Ever ask a two, three or four-year-old to smile? If you have, you know that you normally end up with a grimace or a grin as getting their photos taken feels like a chore to them. Kind of like nap time 🙂 If you ask them what they want to do, then you will hear “No mommy, I wanna play.”


I will try and share some tips with you on how to get them to be comfortable, have fun and give natural looking smiles during your photo session. Of course, this is just advice based upon what I have learned through my own trials and tribulations.


  1. Bring some of their favorite toys to the session. Children under the age of 5 can be easily distracted, so if they have a favorite toy or two let them play with it or even hold it during the session. It has been known to bring an added sense of comfort even for children who are shy.
  2. Talk to them! As I mentioned above some children are shy so to break the ice, ask them about their favorite TV show, favorite games they like to play in school, or even ask them to tell you why the toy they have is one of their favorites.
  3. Bring snacks. Snacks that are low on sugar or even sugar free; if talking to them doesn’t help, then maybe you can take a little break and give them a snack. This does so much for children in helping with their mood and attention.
  4. Be okay with candid photos. Nothing is written in stone that every photo taken should be “the good one” and it’s okay to have imperfections in your session. Those candid moments make for the best photos to display in your home.
  5. Make sure the session isn’t scheduled around nap time. Let me say this again…. make sure the session isn’t scheduled around nap time. It’s okay to adjust their nap time to work with your scheduled session and try to not let them sleep in the car on the way to the photo session. Doing so, will result in a not so happy child.


You will feel different emotions and that’s perfectly okay. But it’s going to be okay, trust me. A good photographer should be able to get wonderful photos, even if it’s not everyone smiling and looking at the camera at the same time.


I hope these suggestions help!

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