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  • Writer's pictureMandy

Tips for a Successful Lifestyle Photography Session with your Child

Lifestyle photography is a wonderful way to freeze time with your family and forever savor this short time in life. Babies don't keep and children turn to teens. Taking family photos with young children requires a unique approach and I find it best to treat it like a play date as often as possible; tell stories, sing songs, and keep the spirit of the our time together light-hearted. Here are some tips for a successful lifestyle photography session with your young child:

  1. Choose a time of day when your young child is most happy. Many times, little ones are happiest in the morning. The good thing about morning photo sessions is no one is tired from the day and sunlight can often mimic golden hour if done early enough. Sunset photos will come again; but until then, happy kids make for happy photos.

  2. Plan a location that is friendly to your child (if you know they are easily distracted by rocks and sand, perhaps a beach session can wait another year, busy streets downtown can be challenging for a child who enjoys running and exploring, etc.).

  3. Dress your child in clothes they are comfortable in; nothing too itchy, stiff, new shoes that aren't broken in, etc. When the weather is colder, plan layers (leggings, tights under pants when it's really cold-even for boys). Cold kids are not happy kids. On another note, heat doesn't seem to bother kids as much as it bothers adults. If summer photos are an option, keep that in mind as fall can be suddenly cold and snow has happened in October in Iowa! (Outfit ideas:

  4. The "portrait" photo part of our session will be done first thing; get the "work" done. We will attempt additional portraits at every new spot in our time together, but I always aim to capture everyone's face together at least one time and in the very beginning. If we have to play a game and action gets your yearly portrait, we can try that as well. My goal is always at least one "grandma" photo with everyone looking at the camera. Once I have that, I'll let you know and we can move on; plan to let loose and have fun! I'm trying to create "paparazzi moments"-catching you having fun together (Hello Kardashians!).. Happy smiles looking at each other is better than tired staring at the camera. Promise!

  5. NO CHEESE. Having your child practice the word "cheese" will often create forced smiles. Try words that end with a "EEE" sound like spaghetti, candy, cookie, smiley, silly, ice-cream, etc. Pickle and funny words like stinky can bring out some giggles too!

  6. Bring clean snacks for young kiddos (goldfish, water drinks, gummy bears, etc.) and a reward for great smiles after the session like ice-cream is always fun for older kids. Make the experience from getting ready, photo session and afterwards a fun adventure for the family. I have yet to leave a session with NOTHING to deliver. You are in good hands with my over 10-years experience working with families.

  7. If your child is shy, please bring their lovey or a favorite toy. I can find ways to disguise it or we can embrace this time in their life.

  8. Embrace imperfection: Lifestyle photography is about capturing real moments, which may include messy hair, dirty clothes, or even tears. Embrace these imperfections as part of the story.

The key to a successful lifestyle photography session with your child is staying relaxed, enjoy your time together, stay in the moment, and you'll see their true personalities shine through. With these goals in mind, we will create authentic and beautiful images of your children being themselves.

Des Moines and Waukee lifestyle newborn and family photographer

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