What to do when kids hate picture day

Posted May 18, 2012 by Wendy Wright in Photography

For Mother’s Day I have a dream of getting one picture of me with my children. It is basically what I want for the one day of the year, right behind sleeping in.

This, of course, means it is a very stressful time for my husband.

We have an issue in our house when it comes to pictures. A couple of them in turns out.

One child looks like he is pooping and the other makes goofy faces and bunny ears. No telling which child is which.

This, of course, means it is almost impossible for my husband to get a picture of our children with me in the picture too.

When I am on the other side of the camera it is usually easy for me to take their pictures.

Shot after shot in triple degree heat meant we needed to finish quickly before we melted.

Clearly it was not working out to get the three of us together in one shot and have it looking wonderful.

Here is what I did to save our sanity.

What do do when kids hate picture day:

Remove one child from the picture.

While that sounds incredibly cruel, it was best to remove the child who simply was just not cooperating at the moment. It served two purposes. It gave the son some “off camera” time who really needed it and it gave some much needed “on camera” snuggle time with mom for the son who was cooperating and ready to shine.

This gave my son permission to take a timeout from the camera in order to respect him. Along with it came the promise he would return with a cooperative attitude.

Switch places with the children.

Now that the child who was uncooperative was ready to try again, it was time to switch places. This gave equal cuddle time with the children and one-on-one attention with mom. Very important to give them that much needed opportunity to have that picture just with mom.

Try a different pose.

We switched it all up and had different posing situations. Sitting, kneeling, laying down, different configurations…You name it, we did it. Nothing was really truly working or felt right.

Let it go.

This was a hard one for me but ultimately turned out the best in the situation we were in. The boys were rocking the pictures, smiling and working the camera but the pictures still just did not have that special flare to it that would be worthy to hang on the wall.

This picture of my curly haired six year old son was taken as he swung his head from side to side and would not stop moving. Working with his speed meant I snapped his picture right when he was being completely natural with me. Love that shot of him!

In a sheer moment of insanity I did the absolute opposite of what ever fiber in my being wanted.

Inside I wanted to continue shooting to get that elusive “perfect” picture to remember forever for Mother’s Day, but I did a rare and unexpected thing.

We have been down this road before when we sat in a photography studio for 3 hours, yes I wrote THREE HOURS, past our appointment time with a two year old and a five year old. Our family’s Christmas pictures consisted of a two year old scowling at the camera while everyone else looked amazing. Turns out these kinds of pictures get you instantly through the fast track to a free package you take home and send to absolutely no one.

I could choose to have more pictures like this or something totally different.

I let it go. I gave up the perfection and the desire for that one picture I could see in my head.

Choose to document the moment of what is important, instead of crafting a beautiful print worthy picture.

Because I let it go, we had a great picture I will remember forever. Not because of the artistic nature but because of what we did. I told the boys to make a funny face and boy did they!

When I see this picture I can still see the laughter and the giggles. That to me means the world and is perhaps my favorite Mother’s Day picture of all.

Be willing to take a risk and try something off the wall or totally new to you.

Giving children permission to act incredibly goofy for the camera is perhaps one of the biggest blessings you can ever offer them. It was only after the goofy expressions that I was able to capture the latest pictures of my boys that I absolutely love.

Think about it. What do you have to lose? The worse case scenario is that you end up with some goofy pictures that everyone will laugh about…someday.


    tami husak

    Very nice.!!!


    I love your pictures. Especially the last one!


    Great advice and really cute pictures.

    One of my favorite Mother’s Day pictures of all time is my brother and his wife with their three boys looking charming and their young daughter sitting at their feet screaming. So cute , we could hardly stand it.


    Adorable pictures! Inspires me to learn to take better pics! thank you for sharing! Your family is gorgeous!

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