How to Plan a Photo Session for Your Kids



We all love capturing  “candid” moments of our kids. Those moments aren’t planned and you usually have to say, “don’t move! I’m going to go grab my camera!” But what about photos you know you want to capture? Maybe of them in an outfit that you paid way too much- the least you want is one photo of them in it before it gets stained. I personally have 3 “formal” sessions I plan for kids every year: birthdays, back-to-school, and Christmas. These photos are actually among my favorites! In this post, I am going to share exactly how to plan a photo session for your kids.

More of a visual learner? Check out my YouTube video below!


First, you need to decide on the location in which you are taking the photo. The most important aspect of the location is that you need to have enough (and not too much) lighting. But more on lighting later! Just make sure that the location has plenty of light. (hint- sometimes indoors there isn’t always enough light.)

Now, think of the colors of that space. A beach has an array of white, beige, and blues. The pumpkin patch is filled with oranges and greens. A cotton field is a mostly dark brown with accents of white cotton. Or maybe your location isn’t so specific. It could be in your front yard or at a park. Are you planning on photographing them with the play equipment is red, yellow, and blue? No matter where you are going, there will be colors present. Take those colors into consideration for how you dress you kid- which transition to my next topic: What to wear.

What to Wear

Listen, what a person is wearing in the photo might be the number 1 factor in achieving a certain look you’re going for. I have a whole post here on how to dress your kids for a photo session if you’d like to read more. Here’s the cliff note version of some helpful clothing tips to taking the guess work of out choosing their outfits…

  • What color would complement the location? Notice I use the word “complement” and not match. If you’re going to a pumpkin patch, I personally wouldn’t dress my kid in orange. Christmas tree farm? I would steer clear of hunter green. Instead what color would complement the location- green or white would look amazing in a pumpkin patch. Red or a neutral color would look amazing on a tree farm.
  • After I know what colors I am going for, I find solid color clothing. A romper for a baby and a timeless collared shirt for my big boy. If you are photographing more than one child, they do not necessarily have to match. Let’s go back to the tree farm example. We know to avoid hunter green because that would make out subject blend into the surrounding. Reds and neutral colors are a good option. You could put one child in red and another in white. There are no hard rules here. Just play with this idea until you achieve the look you like.

Time of Day

Last, but certainly not least, is the time of day. The *ideal* time to take photos is one hour before sunset or just after the sun rises. The lighting at this time isn’t harsh. No squinting eyes and no weird shadows on your face. You might even get a glowing sun flare in your photos if that’s your thing. If you can plan for those times, great- if not, make sure there is a shady area that you can photograph in. A shaded area will keep your subject comfortable without having a squinting eye and will keep harsh shadows far, far away.

So, there you have it! 3 tips on how to plan a photo session for your kids! Location, what they wear, and time of day are all huge to factor into the planning process. But no worries, you know exactly what to do now! Now it’s time to get photographing! Ready to grow in your photography journey? Come join me in Mom Photography School for only $35! Click here to read all about how much moms all over the country have gotten amazing results with MPS.





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