photoshoot with family

Our little ones always keep us on our toes! Try as we might to prepare for everything, they’ve got something up their sleeve to show us up. All kidding aside, one of the most common questions I get from parents of young children is what to bring to their family photo session. Whether you’ve booked a full session or mini session with me, there are a few necessities I recommend bringing along for your photoshoot with family.

formal family portraits

Preparing for Your Photoshoot with Family | What to Bring to Your Session

1. Diaper Bag for Babies 

Have a full session planned with your little one? Bring the diaper bag. Opting for a short mini session with your baby? Bring the diaper bag. Inevitably, babies always seem to need a fresh diaper right before (or during) photo sessions. Or, you may need to reach for the pacifier, lovey, favorite toy, or headband. Having your diaper bag on hand will help you consolidate all the necessities so you don’t have your hands full (well, more than usual anyway).

Note: If you have an infant, you might want to do a small feeding or snack about 30 minutes to an hour before your session so your baby has a happy tummy but isn’t too full. You’re going for that perfect balance where they aren’t hungry, but it’s long enough that they probably won’t spit up, either.

Mom and Me Photos

2. Change of Clothes

If you have kids, everyone could use a change of clothes—even Mom and Dad. Life gets a bit messy at times, and you never know what will happen. Don’t let an applesauce pouch eruption, an uncovered sneeze, or a happy little puddle jumper catch you off guard. If you aren’t planning to change outfits during the session, you can just store another set in the care just in case. And, if you’re doing a mini session and don’t have enough time to change in the middle, don’t stress. There’s nothing a minor edit can’t fix. I’ve got you covered!

Note: If we’re shooting at an outdoor location like the forest, you might also want to bring another pair of shoes. Bring shoes that are good for walking in case we have a bit of mud or tall grass to get around. Mom may not want to navigate that in her super cute wedges.

Dazzling Diva Photography

3. Water & Snacks

Bring your kiddo’s favorite snacks (nothing too heavy or messy if possible), plus some water or juice. You might even bribe them just a bit by trying to get them to do a few photos before getting a snack. If you’re doing a mini session, you could try a bite just before the session to tide them over. Then, let them know they’ll get more at the end. 

Rarely do kids have meltdowns at a session. (It’s all fun and new, and there’s plenty to look at. And mini sessions are over before you know it.) But, on the rare occasion that a little one feels overwhelmed or upset or just isn’t having it, food can work wonders as a much-needed distraction.

spring family portraits

4. Entertainment

On that note, you might want to bring along your child’s favorite toy or lovey to make them feel at ease. A familiar item can help them relax during the session.

Sometimes it’s tricky to get babies or very young toddlers to smile—they have a perpetual inquisitive look trying to figure out what’s going on. A fun toy, maybe even one they haven’t played with yet, can help distract your little one and possibly tease a little smile or giggle out of them.

Note: You only need to bring a couple of toys. As an experienced child photographer and mother of littles myself, I have quite a few tricks up my sleeve. I can almost guarantee we’ll get a few great smiles. Bringing along too many toys may lead to sensory overload, which can also cause tears.

photoshoot with family

5. Reward

If your child is old enough for bribery, I’m all for it! You might tempt them with a lollipop, a post-session ice cream date, or a fun trip to the playground afterward for a job well done. But no pressure here! I’m a parent, too, and I know things don’t always go as planned. If they aren’t interested in a treat afterward, no worries. It’s probably better not to push it. We’ll be just fine, and I’ll work some magic to get those beautiful smiles out of your cutie.

photoshoot with family

6. Wipes

This goes for just about any age, even if your kids aren’t in diapers, and especially if you have toddlers or preschoolers. Wipes are handy for any messes, smudges, or dirt that may pop up during the session. I love getting in-the-moment photos of little ones, which often involve munching on a treat, digging in the soil, or picking flowers. Then, one swipe with the wipe and we’re back to flawless faces and clean little hands again. 

photoshoot with family

7. Accessories

As an optional last item, I’m happy to incorporate fun or themed accessories into your session, too. If you’re doing birthday photos, let me know ahead of time if you have a specific prop in mind. I also have a prop closet and boys’ and girls’ client closets for you to peruse. Accessories look great in photos (and a little goes a long way). Some of my favorite items include seasonal items like rain boots and umbrellas, scarves and hats, bow ties, bows, and suspenders, a statement jewelry piece, cardigans, and cute shoes. I’d love to help you select the best item(s) for your shoot. Contact me here for questions.

photoshoot with family

Book Your Family Photoshoot with Dazzling Diva Photography

Take a peek inside my Family Portfolio for more family photo ideas. Visit my Booking Calendar to see all available dates and to book your session. Contact me Here to book a full session. Wondering about a photoshoot with extended family? Learn more in this Post.

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