How to Get a Great Family Photo {with Active Kids}

Family photos are more than capturing a moment, they are the chance to capture the energy and excitement of childhood.

We have six kids – to say that we are a photographers “logistical challenge” is an understatement. It is difficult to capture all of our children looking at the camera.  So this year, instead of fighting it, we decided to embrace the chaos, with Michael Hansen, a photographer in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
tips for a photo shoot... when you have active kids

Michael had some tips to help us prepare our family for the photos.


Get some rest!

Kids who haven’t napped or who are off on their routines are more difficult to keep happy.  Try and schedule your photo shoot at a time when your kids will be the most at ease.   Make sure both parents and children get a proper night’s rest. If shooting in the afternoon or evening, sneak in a good nap before getting ready for the session. A sleepy child (and parent!) make for very grumpy photos.

5+ Tips for families to make the most out of a photo session


Dress comfortably.  Michael suggests that unless you absolutely must have a black tie formal shot, something more casual works better with kids.  Try and keep it light-hearted. A good rule of thumb would be: whoever you want to be the recipient of your photos (e.g. family & friends via Christmas card, Facebook, etc.), how do they normally see you?


Relax.  Make photo-time, play-time.

Bring props, games, sports equipment, dolls, etc. The photo session should be so fun that the kiddos don’t want to leave!  We brought some funny glasses and mustaches for our kids.  Michael also encouraged our kids personalities to come out.  Rather than have still kids, he encouraged them to interact and even play pretend – he was able to capture the energy that our kids have! Silly ideas to make a family photo shoot fun for the kids

Food.  Yes, food.

Let’s get creative here. Have you ever considered bringing a snack or picnic lunch/dinner to a photo session? Maybe you should try it! You could even turn the shoot into a culinary learning experience, depending on the location.



Be silly!

Okay, maybe not in EVERY photo… But Michael says that the best family photos he takes are the candid, informally posed shots.  Consider bringing along the faces from the printable included below.  They would make a great accessory to help your children be silly.  Just click the link to access the full printable.

free printable for photo shoot - crazy faces

Click to download:  Printable Crazy Faces from Kids Activities Blog
Many thanks to our Dallas Photographer, Michael Hansen!!  We loved how you captured our crew.

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About Rachel

An original "Quirky Momma" blogger and "Mommy" to six kids under six, when Rachel is not wiping crayon off the walls or wading through laundry, she can be found exploring and creating with her kiddos. She hopes to be someone who acts justly, loves kindness and walks humbly before God (Micah 6:8).