Can capturing great family photos with young children really be achieved without tears? As an experienced photographer and trained Reggio-Inspired Educator, I want to let you know that it is possible! Here are seven tips I offer my clients when seeking a tear-free outdoor, family photo session.

1. Keep It Familiar - As many little ones are often scared when facing a strange person taking their photos, it’s important to stick to familiar faces and places. It’s important to stick with a familiar photographer and make sure the photo shoot is held in a familiar setting, like their very own backyard or a local park your family frequents.

2. Focus on Activity - It’s best to capture candid photos as the little ones are naturally engaged in an activity, like playing with a favorite toy or pet. Natural outdoor play often captures expressions of joy and wonder, perfect for documentary style family photography.

3. Start Early - Young children can get very cranky when overtired, but their best expressions often appear first thing in the morning. Therefore, plan for your photo shoot to start early enough for those happy moments to happen.

4. Embrace Calming Music - Teachers often use calming classical music to create an inviting atmosphere. Why not incorporate music during your outdoor family photo shoot?

5. Bring Snacks - Little ones especially need snacks to keep up their energy between shots. Bringing some of their favorite nutrition on the day of the shoot can help keep them happy throughout the photoshoot.

6. Give Breaks - Taking breaks between photos will keep the energy of the shoot happy and relaxed and allowing the child to take a break when they need it can help prevent any tears.

7. Keep it Short & Sweet - Aim for the photo shoot to last for no more than an hour and ensure there are not too many directives for the little one. The most beautiful documentary style family photos is when the child feels free to express their natural selves.

Of course, It’s important to remember that every child is different and that even children can have hard days. Sometimes children may need some extra love, snuggles, patience and support to make for a fantastic family session!