How To Do A Photoshoot With Kids

The joys of a 2-year-old. They’re so cute, but they’re very opinionated. And sometimes their opinion is that Mom & Dad don’t need to be doing a photoshoot with them. But they can be swayed!


Be goofy. Dance around. Get their attention. Jump up and down!

If they are tired of saying “cheese,” pick another word they like. Do they dig dinosaurs? Asking them to say “T-Rex!” creates the same smile effect as saying “cheese!”


Is the kiddo not it the mood to pose for pictures? That’s ok! Let them run around. You can get some great actions shots, and some great smiles by just letting them be a kid.

Hubbard Family (3)


After they’ve run around and played for a bit and you’ve gotten some great action shots, that’s when you can try and do more group family photos.

Trude Family (7)

Ask the kiddo what their favorite shows are, talk about them with them. Instead of “cheese,” have them say a character from their favorite show.

You can also try Simon Says. “Simon says jump up and down, Simon says spin in a circle, Simon says smile for a picture.” Kids just like to have fun.


And parents can have fun, too! If the kid doesn’t wanna sit down and smile — put them on your shoulders or throw them in the air! Heck, you can even hang ’em upside down!




Another good tip is to bribe them. I have had so many parents offer their kiddos a sucker … but only if they smile for the camera.

And then there’s always the tickle. This shot below was taken by my fellow photographer friend, Dawn. I was tickling my daughter with my hidden hand. Worked like a charm!


The last tip we have — use the same photographer.

I have had some kiddos for years. The first shoot I would have to use these tricks, the second one they started to recognize me and not as many tricks were needed — and from there on out, they felt like they “knew” me and I no longer had any problems getting them to grin for me.


Here are our tips in a handy, dandy list — complete with a bonus tip:

  • Be goofy to get their attention, even if that means dancing around and acting silly.
  • Instead of asking them to say cheese, ask them to say the name of one of their favorite TV show characters. “T-Rex” also works well!
  • If they don’t feel like sitting still, let them run around. You can get some great action shots and genuine smiles this way.
  • After running around, try for those group photos again. Get them talking and excited by mentioning their favorite shows and characters.
  • Play Simon Says.
  • Get the parents involved. Throw them up in the air, put them on your shoulders, hang them upside down …
  • Bribery. It can totally work. Bring on the lollipops.
  • Tickle them!
  • Use the same photographer. This builds trust with the kiddo — and they’re more willing to smile for someone they like!
  • BONUS: Show them the back of the camera. Kids LOVE to look at photos of themselves. Tell them to stand back and then promise to show them the photo afterward!

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