It’s hard to imagine that the perfect smiling images you see on pinterest and instagram {as well as the images on my website} may have been taken in a way that you wouldn’t view to be as pristine. Such as, 5 minutes after a melt down, right after a fart joke or with dad jumping around and making funny faces behind the photographer. These behind the scenes shots never make it to my website, which is why you only see the gorgeous one’s in front of you. *Did you know that most of my ‘posed’ photos of children, are actually taken when they’re in motion? Playing a game and engaging with me, spinning, dancing, or clapping? I bet you couldn’t tell!

To help you {mom & dad} visualize the REALITY of what may happen at a family portrait session, I’ve written a few blog posts, including this one; a list of expectations and ways to prepare for a session. Here’s another blog post that gives you an inside peek at a family session from beginning to end. 

family portrait bergen county nj


Don’t set your expectations too high. (Your expectations of how your child “must” behave, not the quality of the final photos!) When working with kids, things never go as planned. Someone will always have to go to the bathroom as soon as you get there, and tears may be shed in the middle of the session because their shoelace came untied, but seriously – don’t worry. Try to be flexible. In an effort to have the best portrait session possible I always spend some time at the beginning of the session getting to know your child without my camera pointed at them. I try to make them relax a little. It takes some kids a little longer to warm up and that’s okay – there’s no rush at our portrait session and I have lots of patience!


I’m not saying our portrait session won’t go perfect… but it may just not go as perfectly as you’ve envisioned in your head. I promise we’ll still end up with beautiful, personality-packed images that you’re going to LOVE forever. Trust me – I can make it happen!

Don’t worry about getting the perfect shot – just enjoy the moment! By doing so, it will ease the pressure. If you’re tense, it will cause your kids to feel tense, and that’s the last thing we want! I start with simple posed shots first, and ease into more complex or natural ones by getting you into position and then giving commands or telling jokes to make the posed moments seem more candid. By making everyone feel at ease in front of my camera, I’m able to create the “perfect shot”. Let me worry about that part, while you just try to enjoy the moment with your family!


Tell your child how much fun we’re going to have at the session ahead of time. Instead of telling your child/children that “they better behave” and “you better smile” at the photo shoot, set them up for success by telling them I’m a really awesome friend of yours that’s going to be spending some time at the park with your family, taking photos. They won’t feel as much pressure to “be good”, and will probably enjoy the experience a lot more. We want them to be silly and show off their real smiles without the fear of getting in trouble if they don’t! Which brings me to my next expectation:

Don’t tell your kids to smile. It sounds funny to hear that about a portrait session, but doing so will make for a cheesy fake smile. Instead, make funny faces at your kids to get them to really smile, or leave this part up to me! I’ve got a few tricks!


Bring a snack! During portrait sessions with kids, we always end up taking a few breaks for snacks when they start to lose attention. This keeps them happy, helps draw them back into the session, allows me some more bonding time with them. I recommend treats that aren’t messy and are quick to eat, like goldfish crackers or fruit snacks. No-No’s would be lollipops or juicy fruits that will drip onto their clothes as they eat.

Have fun! To be honest, it’s us adults that have the hardest time warming up to the camera! I know first hand how nerve wracking it can be. I’ll do my absolute best to get all the adults to be as comfortable as possible in front of the camera through interaction, asking questions, and giving interactive commands. By gently posing your family and giving commands, as mentioned earlier, it will give you something to focus on besides the camera and end up creating beautiful candid moments between family members. In addition, let the kids have fun as well! I know it can be difficult to get them to do exactly what you want, but give them a little leniency and let them show their personalities. If things get too silly or a little out of hand, I’ll ask you to step in and help. Otherwise, lets get together and have some fun!

family of four posing


Like I said, just because the final photographs you see in my portfolio are beautiful, it doesn’t mean the scene didn’t look like this literally just one moment before… 

To read about the experiences past clients have had with me, click here.