My #1 Tip For Making Your Kids Behave at Your Session

If you’re reading this, it’s because you have *slight* (or more than slight) concerns about your kiddos behaving during your session. And your feelings are valid! The session is close to their bedtime and your evening routine might feel all messed up. And that often results in some extra “sillies,” as we’ll call them!

So first, know that you are in good company! I’m not sure there’s a single parent out there who doesn’t have concerns in this area. (And if they do, can they teach us all their secrets?!) So let’s all take a collective innnnnhale…..eeeeexhale. And again.

Okay, are you ready for it? My #1 tip for making your kids behave during family photos?

Drumroll please….

Don’t even try!


If your eyebrows are raised right now or you’re making a face at me, good! I have your attention. Seriously though. I actually have a rule during my sessions, and it’s this: There is no discipline allowed. (Stick with me for a minute.)

I’ve had way too many scenarios play out in front of my camera that go something like this…

  • We assemble everyone together.
  • The stiff limbs and awkward smiles start coming out.
  • Then little Max starts making faces.
  • You (mom) want everyone smiling, so you ask Max to please smile through a gritted smile of your own.
  • Max keeps up with the faces, adding some arm flailing now.
  • Dad jumps in and tells Max to put his arms down and SMILE.
  • The flailing gets worse, and now Max hits Sally in the head.
  • Sally starts crying.
  • Dad starts yelling.
  • Mom gets frantic.
  • Max starts running away.
  • …I think you see where this is going. While it’s possible to recover from a family “meltdown,” it’s a lot more fun if we don’t have them happen at all. And how do we make that happen?

Back to my rule –> No discipline! Kids will be kids, and you know that more than anyone. Time is a thief, and it’s my job to document their little personalities RIGHT NOW, however they are. Silly? Great. Sweet? Awesome. Bouncing off the walls? Wonderful. Ya’ll, I ran track in high school. I have some speed. Let me chase your littles around as they burn off some energy!

And if you think I’m in charge for the whole session, wrong! 😉 I always have a plan, but I’m also constantly reading the room and trying pick up on impending meltdowns before they happen. If can sense discomfort, I’ll flip the script and put the kiddos in charge. And if that means piggy back rides, beach races, or being swung around, be ready to jump in!

Last thing: Meltdowns do happen. And we can bounce back from them! But I do my darndest at sessions to avoid them if at all possible – in the hopes of saving YOU the stress too. So take a deep breath, and let go of the discipline – just for one night. Embrace the evening as it plays out, so your little one has a fun night of “remember that time I got to be in charge and we piggyback raced on the beach, and me and dad won?!?! That was so fun!!!” And you’ll have beautiful and meaningful photos to go along with it.



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