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How to prepare your kids for your family photoshoot. Melbourne lifestyle family photography

Doing things with kids is hard. It hardly ever goes how you envisioned it. When you are rushing, they put on the brakes. When you surprise them with something they then decide they want to do something else. I mean if you want a walking, talking and breathing definition of egomaniac, just point to a kid!

However, no matter how hard they tend to make our lives we love them more than anything we thought possible. And an outdoor lifestyle family photoshoot is a great way to preserve the love you feel for them at this moment in time, however, based on the sentiments above I can understand if you’re worried about whether your kids will be picture perfect. Well let me put your mind at ease… I am a Mum too and I know your concerns and your frustrations when it comes to your (our) kids!

Outdoor Lifestyle Photography is perfect for Young Families

Lifestyle photography is nice in that it is quite relaxed and flexible to allow children to have some space to run around and be themselves. However, we also want to reign them in for some cuddles and closeup shots. Needless to say, the happier your child, the more cooperative they are likely to be. That's why I have put together this tips to help you prepare your children for your family photoshoot!

Also, I seriously don't recommend that you do what I did when preparing for my own family photoshoot last year!

lifestyle family photography in Melbourne Camberwell

1. Keep the day of the photoshoot lowkey

Our lives are busy! I know that often we jam pack more into the two days of the weekend than we do the entire work week. Well, when it comes to the weekend of your outdoor photoshoot, please keep it lowkey.

Over-tired kids make for cranky looking photos. And, while on other weekends you might be able to weather through your kid’s crankiness at a restaurant after a morning of dance class, music and swim lessons, over-tired kids at a photoshoot are going to have those emotions captured for life.

So tone it down, make the photoshoot the appealing thing of the day and plan to do something fun afterwards!

2. Make sure your children are comfortable and not hungry

Ask my husband, if I have sore feet or if I’m hungry I am not a nice person to be around. Put that combination together and believe me, I wouldn’t even want to be around me!

It’s the same for our kids. Make sure they are fed well and have snacks packed for during the session too. Keep the pre-photoshoot food and snacks healthy and save the sugary rewards for after the session.

At the same time, make sure their outfit is appropriate for where we’ll be. Ensure they are warm enough, are comfortable in what they are wearing and that what they are wearing is appropriate for where the outdoor family photoshoot is to take place.

For instance, I know my daughter stops every five seconds to dust her toes off if she’s wearing sandals on a dirt path, therefore, whenever we have an outdoor photoshoot I’ll make sure she has closed shoes. I’m also aware that she is ticklish in long grass and so I always make sure she has tights on so that she doesn’t complain when I insist on a shot in some beautiful long (ticklish) grass. It’s these little things that can make all the difference.

3. Explain what to expect and have something fun planned afterwards as an incentive

For a child, there would be nothing worse than rocking up to a beautiful outdoor location, such as the beach or a park, and being told with no warning that they can’t go off and play as they like.

So tell your children about the photoshoot! Talk it up. Explain where we’ll be having it and that a friend will be there taking photos of them with Mum and Dad. Explain that they’ll need to listen to the lady with the camera but that it will still be fun. And then also explain that once the photos are over they can run around as much as they please and that you have something fun planned as a family afterwards –ice-creams, dinner out or even a swim in the sea.

The more prepared your children are the easier it will be to manage their expectations. A gentle reminder about an ice-cream after the photos might just save the whole session!

4. Go with the flow and keep your expectations real

Lifestyle family photography aims to capture real life in a beautiful and candid way but also involves guidance and direction from the photographer. Your children don’t sit still smiling all day long and sometimes they won’t do it - even at an outdoor photoshoot. And when this happens, you need to let your expectations go and embrace the reality of life with kids.

While I will always endeavour to get some happy, smiling at the camera pictures, the images that always make my heart skip a beat are those where families are smiling, interacting and truly having fun with one another! The true connection of your family shines through in these images. They are the ones that not only look beautiful but feel beautiful too.

If your children don’t want to sit still and smile then embrace their quirkiness with a smile and remind yourself that we are capturing their real personalities. You will look a lot happier in the images, because let’s be honest, kids can pull of “cute-cranky” ninety percent of the time, adults on the other hand don’t really have a cute-cranky side!

Following these tips, managing your children’s and your own expectations will make all the difference to your Outdoor Melbourne Lifestyle Family Photoshoot.


Gill is a Lifestyle Family, Newborn and Maternity Photographer based in Melbourne, serving all areas including Melbourne Bayside, Camberwell, Glen Iris, Ashburton and South Eastern Suburbs.

A note on COVID and the current pandemic with regards to my lifestyle photoshoots

As important as it is to document your family life, it shouldn’t be a risk to you or your family and others. We are so fortunate to be in Australia where for the most part the pandemic seems to be under control and as a Melbourne lifestyle photographer I am able to work both indoors and outdoors.

I want to reassure you that safety is my highest priority. I have a COVID-safe plan and will do everything in my power to minimise the risk and spread of COVID during my Melbourne lifestyle photography sessions. This includes following all legislation about masks and social distancing under the new COVID-normal conditions, strict hand hygiene and rescheduling if either myself or yourselves are feeling unwell at all.

In the event of going into another lockdown, all sessions will be rescheduled accordingly.



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