If you haven’t been there, you’ve definitely heard the horror stories of kids deciding today is NOT THE DAY for the perfect family photos you’ve been dreaming of. 

 I learned this lesson the hard way when I attempted to take my toddler brother to take photos to surprise our mom. We didn’t even make it to the studio before I was driving us back to my house, both of us sobbing uncontrollably. Those surprise photos did not happen that day. Or any other day.

As family photographers in Nashville, TN, we want to help you avoid this! Our goal is for you and your family to have fun during your session, and hopefully these tips will make the experience better than you could even imagine!

Parents kiss each side of a young child's face during a birthday photoshoot
A baby peeks from a ball pit during a birthday photoshoot in Nashville, TN

Kid's gonna kid

Your kid is going to act their age—and that's okay!! Most babies, toddlers, and smaller kids are absolutely not going to sit still and pose perfectly for photos. And we're not going to force them. Honestly the most adorable "awwwww!" inducing photos of your kiddos are candids of them happily doing what they love, such as eating snacks or playing. I can promise you, that well-worn lovey will be a cherished memory in your photos, not an eyesore. So the tip here is to RELAX. It's going to be OK.

Speaking of snacks and playing...

Bring your children's favorite toys and snacks to your family photoshoot! If you know that fruit snacks are a good way to stave off a meltdown, bring those snacks. Pack the bunny that's missing an eye. Stock up on juice boxes. You're bringing your child to a new environment full of weirdos (that would be our team of Nashville photographers!) that are pointing a camera at them. Having things they love and bring them comfort will make this experience a lot better for them.

A baby wearing a knit bear suit naps in a basket during a newborn shoot in our Nashville portrait studio

Perfect timing

Timing of your photoshoot is crucial. When does your child usually take a nap? Is there a time of day that your child prefers to relax and chill? These are not the best photography times! We generally do not do multiple shoots in a day, so we're not trying to squeeze you in between other families. Choose a time that works best for your family, not what you think works best for us.

Dress for success!

How you dress your kids is a pretty big piece of the puzzle. Comfort goes a long way. It doesn't matter how precious the Easter dress is if it's itchy or tight and making your kiddo miserable. You don't want to send that misery Grandma. Choose outfits that fit well, don't make them too hot or cold, and are made of breathable, comfortable fabrics. And bring backups! Messes happen, and a quick change can fix that.

An older brother dotes on his newborn sibling during family photos
A young girl poses with her pregnant mother on a velvet couch in our Nashville, TN, portrait studio
A young boy in a red sweater acts silly during his family photoshoot in Nashville, TN

Finally, HAVE FUN!

Your kids look to you for social cues. If you're stressed or frustrated about their behavior, they will be too. Just have fun! Play with the toys your brought, grab some of our props , or we always have bubbles on hand! If your kid is being silly, laugh! These moments make for some of my favorite family photos—and some of the most cherished memories. We do not want to give you stiff, forced photos ... and you don't want them. So relax and be yourself. We'll do the rest.


A dad holds his son on his shoulders in a field in Nashville, TN