8 Ways to Guarantee Better Family Photos



Every parent knows that for every sweet, lovely photo you have, there’s approximately 421,214 outtakes that didn’t go as planned. It’s simple math with kids, right?

After Bailey Wilson Photography did our contributor headshots as mother/child sessions this year instead of highlighting just the moms, we were blown away with how many tricks she had up her sleeve to get babies, toddlers and even moody teens to warm up to the camera.

We begged her to share a few of her go-to tricks for getting kids to successfully survive a family photoshoot without tears—read on to try a few of these tips at your next family photoshoot.


First make sure the photographer you hired matches the style you want

Bailey challenges families booking photo sessions to consider if you’re looking for a photographer who will capture everyone looking and smiling at the camera, or are you after a more casual, emotion-driven session. Deciding this before you sign a contract, will help you evaluate and select a photographer whose body of work represents what you’re looking for will be the most helpful step in ensuring that you love your final images.

Bailey mentioned she leans much more towards more emotive sessions, which allows for more space for it to turn into a more natural play session for the family to have fun with instead of posing and feeling pressure for perfection.

Read on for Bailey’s favorite ways to create a great session with kids:

  1. Discuss, as a family, a bribe/incentive for after the session that your kiddo can get excited for.
  2. Talk about what might be expected during the session- what’s expected of them, how long it will take, where you’ll be going, etc. Even showing older kids similar photos of other family photos at the same location can be helpful in getting their buy-in.
  3. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready and out of the house but wait until you arrive to get little ones dressed. If you have older kids who are interested in choosing their clothes, let them have a say in what they wear.

  1. Make the session into a game. Your photographer will likely help with this. For example, poses can easily be turned into a game of Simon Says. Bailey might tell the kids “Simon says…tickle your big brother!” or “Simon says…snuggle mom tight.”
  2. Bring a bubble toy to grab a little one’s attention. This hack gets full credit to Amy C., one of our contributors! She brought bubbles to entertain her two-year-old and it’s now in my arsenal for toddlers!
  3. If possible, bring grandma/auntie to make kids laugh and be distracted from the camera. Someone who your children are comfortable with can help get them to smile and laugh more naturally than if they’re still trying to decide if they like the photographer—if you have a shy little one, this may be especially helpful.
  4. Download a fart noise app on your phone. Fart jokes have a special place in certain age groups—embrace it and let the laughs roll at all the different fart noises played on your phone. It’s all in the name of good photos, right?
  5. Let the little girls get glammed! Drybar at San Tan Village offers blowouts for ages six and up. For our contributor family photos this year we took six and eight-year-olds for blowouts and they loved the whole experience and were especially excited to show off their blowouts during the photo session. If you look good, you feel good. This was evident with the littles and moms after their blowouts.

For any family sessions, from minis, to newborn, to anything else, Bailey Wilson Photography is offering $20 off if you mention East Valley Moms!


This blog post is a sponsored post written by East Valley Moms contributors on behalf of some of the brands featured in the post, but all opinions are 100% ours. Thank you for allowing us to partner with brands we believe in to continue to bring you free content!


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