If you’re preparing for a photo session with your children, you may be feeling a bit apprehensive. Kids like to march to the beat of their own drum, so a structured family portrait session that comes with a serious financial investment might be a little nerve wracking for parents. As a family photographer in Kansas City, I'm a big believer in fun, balanced family photoshoots, and I always aim for a good mix of those traditional poses and emotive candids. Keep scrolling for some tips that'll come in handy during your next family photo session!

1. Don't make a huge deal out of it.

If you're stressed out and cranky, your kids will usually pick up on it and act accordingly. Take a breather, and remember that a professional family photo session is supposed to be fun way to make some everlasting memories. You may have to make some compromises to keep the peace such as letting your energetic daughter's hair stay straight instead of curling it or bribing with candy, but it'll all work out in the end. Focus on the big picture, and don't sweat the small stuff. 

A mom smiles with her two young daughters as they sit in a tallgrass field for a family photo in Overland Park, KS.

2. Make it fun!

Let the kids take some “fun pictures” periodically throughout your session where they get to run around or pick their own pose. You get to keep the more serious photos while they get to keep their silly photos, and everyone wins! If you're struggling to get your kids to sit still, turn the photo session into a game for a few minutes. Simon Says usually works like a charm.

3. Be prepared. 

If you're going to be out for several hours, ensure that your kids are well rested and have had their nap. Bringing some snacks and activities along is also a great idea. I'm a firm believer that parents should exist in family photos (Moms, I'm looking at you! Trust me, you look great!), and if you want a few photos of just you and your partner, consider bringing a babysitter or family member to help out with the kids for a few minutes. If you happen to be shooting in a remote location, you never know when you might need some bug spray, sunscreen, tissues, or a first aid kit, so bring those along too.

4. Be patient.

Save your sanity by trying not to control the photo session too much. Sometimes the best photos come from kids just doing their own thing — those posed, all-smiles photos are perfect for the living room wall and holiday cards, but candid family photos are memories frozen in time, belly laughs and all. Work with your photographer and keep an open mind, and your photos will look fantastic.

5. Have a chat.

Get your kiddos talking to both you and your family photographer about topics such as school, weekend or summer plans, their favorite songs or characters, and hobbies. This allows them to feel more comfortable around your photographer and will also give your photographer a chance to capture some candid expressions.

—5 ways to make family photos with littles a bit easier...

...From a Kansas City metro family photographer.