Top tips for getting your kids to engage on a family photoshoot with Auckland family photographer

May 12, 2022

Top tips for getting your kids to engage on a family photoshoot with Auckland family photographer

I have heard it said so many times from mums with gorgeous spirited children:

' I'm too scared to book a family shoot, my Gracie is wild and won't stay still long enough for the shot'

Firstly, I know that feeling well. Seren, my 4 year old fire cracker, not only won't stay still but she doesn't like to listen to me much (if ever) and I had the same thoughts running through my head when I booked our own family shoot - BUT if you book the right photographer, they will understand the ways of your wildings and know exactly what to do, to not only capture their beautiful personalities, in the most artistic ways but be able to induce connectivity and fun throughout your shoot, to snap those stunning loved up family shots you're so craving.

Having been a paediatric Occupational Therapist for 15 years, before starting up my photography business, I developed some super power skills to work with all types of children. Children with attention deficit hyperactive disorder, autism spectrum disorder. sensory processing disorders, cerebral palsy, shy kids, wild kids, quiet kids, rambunctious kids, and I've been delighted to have been able to transfer these skills when working with my photography clients.

Not all the children I photograph have additional needs of course but knowing how all children tick is fundamental to producing stunning family photographs.

Here are my Top Tips to helping keep your child engaged and ready to be their best self, so you can document some family memories together.

1) Don't tell them you're going to meet a photographer for a photoshoot! Tell them you're going out for a fun family day and someone will be there to take some photos. I always meet and greet with the kids before the shoot and ask them if they're ready to play some games - They always are! If they are young and tired I always allow time to decompress before invading their space with my camera.

If you aren't booking a family shoot but just want some photographs on your iphone, ask a friend to be the games master and have her snap away on your phone whilst you play the games.

*If they are autistic for example and nervous of new people and situations I ensure I have debriefed with the parents prior to the shoot to make the environment match them, not the other way around.

girl twirling on the beach with auckland family photographer


2) Allow them to run wild and free! If they don't feel like bunching up close on a run at that moment in time, don't fret! I don't. I go with the flow and capture those beautifully wild moments against the glorious backdrops of Auckland - Trust me. These are the images that create art that you'll be proud to hang and frame in your home.

family lying in the long grass being photographed by auckland family photographer

3) I have a few games up my sleeve during the shoot, which help capture those scrummy connection shots, where everyone is close, cuddling and laughing and the kids don't even realise it's for a photo most of the time.

family cuddling on the couch with auckland family photographer

- The run around.

I get mum and dad or single parents to stand and hug one or more of their children, whilst another runs around them. When I say 'GO' that child has to choose a parent or sibling to wrap their arms around. All the young kids take a turn.  I love the engagement in this one. 

family cuddling together on the beach with auckland family photographer

-The Ninja sneak up.

I get parents to sit on a rug comfortably, again close up to one or more of their kids and get another to sneak up behind them and on my count wrap their arms around their parents neck or tickle a sibling. Lots of gorgeous natural laughs and eye contact in this one.

family cuddling on the sand with auckland family photographer

-The parachute.

All kids absolutely love this one. I bring a pretty lace blanket and parents hold either end. On the count of three the kids have to run under the blanket, whilst their parents throw it up in the air and get to the other side before it's brought down onto their heads. Always a winner!


Now of course there are many many more games I like to play during my shoots but those are good to get started with on your iphones, you can prop it up and set a timer if you want to be in them too, or tell a friend to play these games with you whilst you're out, to get your own family shots.

Alternatively, if you were looking for some professional family photographs but were yet to take the plunge, look no further. I would love to document these special days in your family's life for you.

Speak soon!