Believe me when I say, I know that "family photos don't have to be stressful!" is easier said than done. In fact, I had to take Hattie's 2nd birthday photos twice because our first attempt was a train wreck. Do keep in mind, I was taking them on my own which adds another element of stress, but, nonetheless, I've been on the other side of the camera too and experienced all the stress that often comes along with taking family photos.

Listen, it doesn't have to be this way. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Let your kids be themselves! If they are shy, that's okay! And if they're wild, that's okay, too! Putting pressure on them to behave in a manner in which they typically don't usually doesn't warrant the results your pushing for anyway.
  • For toddlers and younger children, prep them for what's to come. Try, "first we are going to go have some photos taken, and it is going to be so fun! Then we will go to ______" –get ice cream, play at the park, etc.
  • Keep the location in mind. If we are shooting at a park either offer your kids to play before and set a timer (or do whatever works for your family) to leave to take photos, or offer it as a reward post-session.
  • Keep their schedules in mind. I always go over this with my clients and do my best to accommodate baby and toddler's schedules! Tired babies are typically not happy babies.
  • Feel free to bribe them with small snacks throughout the session. If you look closely at photos of Hattie, she usually has some sort of snack in her hand!
  • Relax and have fun! Don't pressure yourself to capture the perfect posed photos. The photos all of my clients love the most are the candid photos where kids are getting tickled or we are laughing at dad's stinky feet! That's the genuine emotion and character of your family that we are trying to remember forever– not a forced smiling photo at the camera! Those always come at the end once everyone is comfortable and has loosened up!
  • Trust your photographer and hire someone whose niche is kids. I will go to great lengths to get my littlest of clients to smile and have no problems actin' a fool behind the camera to do so!

Natural ways to have fun:

  • Play their favorite song and let them dance.
  • Make funny noises.
  • Tickle them.
  • Give all the hugs and kisses.
  • Have older kids race or play ring around the Rosie.
  • Give a piggy back ride or put your toddler on your shoulders.
  • If you're outside, go for a nature or treasure hunt for things like flowers and rocks.
  • Whisper a secret in their ear
  • Many anything a game
  • And when all else fails.... Tell them NOT to smile, which works like a charm every single time!

Cheers, friends! Meredith

kansas city newborn photography - Meredith Maag Photography
kansas city newborn photography - Meredith Maag Photography
kansas city newborn photography - Meredith Maag Photography
kansas city newborn photography - Meredith Maag Photography
kansas city newborn photography - Meredith Maag Photography
kansas city newborn photography - Meredith Maag Photography

Meredith Maag Photography is a newborn photographer who specializes in newborn, maternity, motherhood, family, and baby sessions in the Kansas City area, including Mission, Westwood, Brookside, Waldo, Country Club Plaza, Crossroads, Westport, Overland Park, Lee’s Summit, Prairie Village, Leawood, Independence, Lenexa, Olathe, and The Northland.


I am so happy you are here and would love to tell you more about my luxury studio experience tailored especially for mamas. My full-service photography studio is located in Brookside which sits just 5 miles south of downtown Kansas City and includes a full studio wardrobe for moms, babies, and children. From wardrobe to delivery and installation of your fine art products, I’ve thought through every detail making the entire experience enjoyable so you don’t have to worry about a thing. If you would like more information, please click here to see the experience.

Clients invest $2,550+ on their entire portrait experience. Click here for additional investment details.

If you are looking for a Kansas City Newborn Photographer or family photographers in Kansas City, would like to schedule a complimentary consultation, receive detailed information, or reserve your date, please click the contact button below or email me directly at:

Cheers, Mama!