It’s safe to say getting kids to cooperate for photos is a challenge. This is true for professional photo shoots, or if you’re taking the photo yourself for your family. In fact, I’d wager it’s actually harder when you’re trying to capture your own photos! I’ve been photographing families and kids of all ages for years. I have a few tricks up my sleeves. Hopefully, they’ll come in handy when you’re chasing your little ones around trying to capture that perfect shot.

5 Tips to Get Kids to Cooperate for Photos

Little girl on on steps to get kids to cooperate for photos

    1. Find Your Inner Silly – This tip is especially key when you’re trying to photograph your own kids. Sometimes we can get so serious with our little ones. However, trust me, busting out a little silly will go a long way! It’s easy to be silly with babies, but older kids might be pushed to the edge of creativity. Sometimes older kids can be bored or tired of mom and dad’s old tricks, so try something new and get your camera ready!
    2. Surprise Them – Speaking of older kids, I’ve found a great way to get them to cooperate is to surprise them. Whether it’s a bit of shock value, or simply not telling them you’re about to photograph them, you can get great shots.
    3. Bribery – I said it before with getting dads to cooperate and I’ll say it again now. I’m not above bribery every once in a while! It’s okay to temp kids to sit still for a few moments for an extra half hour of tech time, or an after session treat. Do what works and relax about the rest.Freeze-motion photo of little boy jumping on the bed.
    4. Be Ridiculous – Kids love the ludicrous. Sometimes, you just have to be utterly ridiculous to capture and keep your kids’ attention. Talk about something totally silly like underwear, farts, or burps and watch them burst into a fit of giggles. Then, get that camera ready to capture the results. They might just turn out to be the very best ones you’ve taken.
    5. Hand Over Control – When all else fails, sometimes giving kids a little time to adjust and immerse themselves in the process is just what you need. Hand over the camera and let them take a couple of pictures so they feel included. Who knows, they might even take a photo of you. Then at least you’re in ONE photo from their childhood. (Am I the only one who ends up missing from my son’s photos because I’m behind the camera? I hope not!)

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If you liked these tips, I teach these and so much more in my SNAP HAPPY Classes, so be on the lookout if you’d like to learn more.




Check out my article 10 Ways to Get Kids Excited About Photography for more helpful tips.

Julie Kubal family portraits Washington D.C.About the Photographer and Author:

Julie Kubal is a child and family portrait artist and photographer serving Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. She is passionate about creating warm and meaningful artwork through modern portraits and lifestyle photography at a location of your choice!