The essential list of things to bring to a photo shoot for young children

The essential list of things to bring to a photo shoot for young children

If you’re like most parents, you probably want to document the various stages of growth your children undergo with some professional photos. Yet at the same time, the mere idea of a photo session for your children may sound exhausting. As much as you would love to have beautiful portraits of your children, the idea of getting your children dressed for a photo shoot, keeping them clean and coaxing them into behaving throughout the session can seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be like that, though. At my Kendal photography studio, I have just about everything I need to create timeless portraits of your child. If you’re considering or preparing for a child photography session, here are my tips on what you can bring to the photo shoot to help your children's portrait session go smoothly.

A fine art portrait by Paul Holland of a young girl wearing a flower crown

1. Clothing and Spare Outfits

Children have an ability to get messy at the most inopportune time so it’s always a good idea to have a backup outfit for each child. If you find that you can't decide between two or three different outfits, feel free to bring them all and I can help you decide based on my experience of what will suit your child best for their photos. Try to have all of their outfits picked out before the day of the photo shoot so you are not adding any more stress on the day itself.

For outdoor children's photo shoots, dress with the weather in mind. You want to make sure your child isn’t too cold or hot. Coats can always be worn to stay warm and then slipped off for a few minutes each time the photos are being taken.

Portrait image of a young toddler sitting on the floor

2. Refreshments

When children get irritable during a photo session, a quick snack or drink can usually help keep them happy, so it pays to be prepared with some of their favourites.

Be sure to feed your child enough before attending the shoot, as a handful of crisps or died fruit probably isn’t going to be enough to help with an empty stomach.

Try to stick to snacks and drinks that are unlikely to create a mess, such as crisps that don’t have dyes or colourful coatings, dried fruit, mints, clear juice or water, and so on.
Avoid anything that could make a mess if it gets spilled, or for very young children, dribbled. Things to avoid are chocolate, which is messy when it melts, crisps with bright coloured coatings that can stain faces and clothes, orange juice, and dark fruit juices such as blackcurrant which can stain around the mouth as well as clothes if it gets spilled.

3. Bring Things That Will Relax Your Children And Make Them Smile

For young children, remember to bring some of their favourite things from home, like a stuffed animal, a favourite toy, and so on. Your child's favourite toy can comfort them when they’re in unfamiliar environments such as a photography studio. They also work well for getting your child’s attention toward the camera or encouraging a smile.

If you’re having portraits taken for multiple children, I will usually take some photos of the children together and some individual photos of each child. In this case, it’s handy to have a book or something else to entertain one child while the other is having their photo taken.

Image of a young toddler laughing while sitting alongside a dog
A studio portrait image by Paul Holland showing identical twin boys in the studio.

4. Extra Nappies and Wipes for Young Children

Most of my child photography sessions take around an hour to an hour and a half because that’s about as long as most young children can maintain attention, so your child might not need a nappy change. If they do need one, though, you don’t want to be left without the essentials, so bring whatever you may need. Wipes are useful after drinks and snacks have been consumed for a quick clean up before we continue with the photos.


My final piece of advice is to relax and have fun! Happiness is contagious, and children are very impressionable. Your children will pick up on your mood so try to relax and enjoy the experience. If your child sees you smiling and happy, it’s very likely that he or she will soon be smiling and happy too.

Would You Like More Information? I Can Help!

As a photographer, I do more than just take your child’s pictures. I’ll chat with you first so I have a plan for a beautiful photo session giving you the specific look you want, whether you’re looking for fine art or contemporary photography.

Contact me at the Kendal photo studio and let’s start planning your dream portraits!


If you like the idea of having regular photo shoots to capture and document your children's development then you may want to consider my 'Studio Passport' 12 month plan. It's great value, and it gives you as many studio photo shoots as you want throughout the year for no extra cost. It removes a lot of anxiety for parents because with unlimited photo shoots, it costs you nothing to repeat a session. It's not limited to children either, your photos can be of Mum, Dad, grandparents, siblings, cousins, and friends. If you have a family pet they can come along too or even have their own photo shoot session!

A black and white fine art photograph of a young girl
Image shows a young girl sitting next to a pet dog

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