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6 Strategies for Stress-Free Holiday Portraits

The following post is from Krystal of Krystal Griffin Photography:

6 Strategies for Stress-Free Holiday Portraits at

Easter is right around the corner, and many of us will be pulling out our cameras for the annual Easter picture with our children and families, just as we did for Christmas and are likely to do again for other major holidays. I understand well, the frustration of wanting to get the annual photo while dealing with less than cooperative children.

I want to share  six  strategies with you that will cut the stress from these annual portraits.

1. Learn a few Jokes.

Unless you were the “class clown” you may not have any kid friendly jokes in you arsenal. Take some cues from your kids to figure out what humors them. My kids are really into knock-knock jokes, and since I have boys a little “potty humor” always seems to do the trick. If you don’t have a joke book in your house, a quick internet search will yield plenty of options. Even the lamest jokes will elicit a small genuine grin, though they may be laughing at your attempts.

2. Learn a few games.

My husband has this thing he does when we take pictures of the kids. With my permission, he makes fun of me behind my back. This is one of many ways that you can get goofy behind the camera. Others might be “peek-a-boo” or blowing “raspberries” for little ones. With my older ones, I’ll joke that their feet are stinky like (fill in the blank). This sort of goofing off should loosen them up, and when you get good at it you will snag some full out belly laughs from them.

3. Bribe them.

I’m not above bribes now and then. There are two kinds of bribes I want to talk about, and which one you choose will depend on the age of your children. The first kind includes a small reward every couple frames or clicks of the camera. They get a raisin, a Smarty or a chocolate chip each time they cooperate for the picture. They give you a picture. You give them a bribe. The other kind of bribe would be saved for the end of your little session and would be for older children. You might promise a fun activity, the whole pack of Smarties or a sheet of stickers. The trick is to find something that motivates them and follow through with the reward.

source: Krystal Griffin

4. Give them a silly one.

You might call this a game or a bribe, but either way it’s a strategy I can always count on. When the gang is wiggly and a bit fitful, I always promise that I will give them a silly one at the end. By this I mean that they are free to make goofy faces and do whatever they want for a few frames. If they are especially wound up, I might give them a silly frame first, ask them for my photos and give them those last few frames to get goofy.

5. Feed them – the right food.

This is very simple. Hungry children aren’t happy. Because I don’t want to leave this tip at two sentences, I will add that you should be sure to feed them the right things. Feeding your children food that is loaded with sugar (unless, of course, it’s a bribe) may not help in your effort to keep them still for a few minutes. A small piece of fruit and cheese might be a better choice.

source: Krystal Griffin

6. Develop a predictable routine.

I can’t emphasize this last strategy enough! It is so important that your family knows what to expect from your portrait times. Developing a predictable routine will help you get the photos you want as quickly as possible. Once they know what to expect and that you won’t hold them hostage forever, they will be more will to cooperate in future sessions. And while we are talking about holding them hostage, let me make one final point. Mom, I know you want that perfect picture of your children, but holding them hostage until you get it might do more damage than good. It’s life- crying children, rolling eyes, snotty noses and all. So remember, any picture is better than no picture.

Which holidays or events do you annually gather up your family for a photo?

Krystal is a stay-at-home mom of four children, ages 4-9, whom she homeschools. She is acutely aware of how fast her children are changing and is passionate about keeping family memories alive through photographs. Now and then she gets to help other families’ bottle up their own memories at Krystal Griffin Photography.