You would love to get some family photos, but the thought of helping your busy kiddos through an hour-long session is overwhelming. What if your kids are young or active? What if they are always busy and will not sit and smile? Is a Family Portrait Session even possible? Yes!!!

Keep reading to find out how you can not only survive a family session but walk away with photos that tell your family story, including how fun and active your kids are.

"It is a happy talent to know how to play." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

As a mom myself, I get it! Kids can be busy and full of energy. My son will not stand still on his own. He is constantly moving! And any sort of posing has to be done in about 15 minutes max.

I have always loved working with kids. Everything looks a lot different when we get down on their level and see the joy and wonder in their eyes. Anything can become a game, giggles can erupt at any moment, and the world is just waiting to be explored. But how do you get good family photos when your kids are so active? I have had quite a bit of practice photographing lively children over the years, both in sessions and with my own very active nieces, nephews, and special needs son. Here's what I've learned!

Be prepared!

For the best results, it is important to do some preparation. Check out this article on how to get epic family photos for more tips on what you can do before a session even starts. The Secret to Epic Family Photos - Grateful Moments Photography

If you have everything all set to go for the session and everyone is ready, you are free to simply enjoy the session and whatever energy your kids have in the moment.


Tell your kids what to expect and what you are asking them to do. Communicate with your photographer so everyone has the same game plan for capturing your family in action.


I like to get the family shots out of the way first when everyone is fresh. Most young or active kids can only handle about 15-30 minutes of instruction with posing. If things aren't going well and a child does not want to do what is suggested, I give them choices and help them come up with things to do. There are endless ideas for family interaction. Games, songs, and tickle or bear hug surprises can get everyone involved. Breaks are essential with kids. While the kids take a break, we can get some awesome couple portraits of mom and dad. Or I can sneak in those candid moments while they explore.


Simply be with your family. Interact. Engage. Be present with your kids. Try to ignore the fact that there is a camera in your face, and just love on your family. The best lifestyle family portraits come from genuine moments spent with those you love. As a photographer, I love action shots! They look more natural and really seem to capture the raw emotion of the moment.


I cannot stress this point enough! Try to focus on enjoying your kids, even with all of their wiggles. The camera can freeze the motion, but the grumpy faces of stressed parents just can't be erased. Your busy kids won't ruin the photo session. Quite the opposite. As a photographer, I just love the challenge of capturing kids in motion!

Create memories!

If you follow everything else, you are on your way to walking away with photos that showcase your beautiful family. These memories can last a lifetime and be treasured by generations to come. Treasure every moment with those precious little ones and get photos you love at the same time!

Families can be busy. Kids love to explore and move and play. But these are the moments that you will want to remember. If you invest in a family photoshoot, even with busy kids, you will never forget the way she scrunches up her nose when she's feeling goofy or the way that he cracks everyone up with made-up jokes. And the sweet, tender moments, in between all of the action, can be captured as well. Family photoshoots can help you slow down and enjoy every moment frozen in time.

I hope this has encouraged those of you in the trenches with busy children. Because I'm right there with you!

To check out some of my favorite shots with dads check out this Father's Day post A Tribute to Dads - Grateful Moments Photography

Or see some of my motherhood work here A Mother's Day Tribute - Grateful Moments Photography