Newborn, Senior, and Family
Portrait Photographer
in New Market, Maryland

Newborn, Senior, and Family Portrait Photographer in New Market, Maryland

Make Your Kids Laugh for Family Photos

New Market Maryland

Family photo sessions are great opportunities to capture sweet moments that you can always look back on and to have a fun time together during the process. While posed portraits have their place, there’s something magical about capturing genuine laughter and joy in those candid moments. As a family photographer, I’ve learned a few tricks over the years for bringing out those authentic smiles and belly laughs from children during photo sessions. Below are some creative strategies to make your kids laugh and bring warmth and spontaneity to your family photo session.

Tips to Make Your Kids Happy for Photos

Silly Sounds and Animal Noises

If you’re a parent, then you have probably, at some point, participated in the wild experience of trying to get your child to look at and smile for the camera. Loud voices and silly faces are usually required. Now, how about throwing in some variations that will catch your child off guard and melt them into giggles? Whether it’s a funny sound effect, a goofy voice, or a playful animal impression, children find spontaneous silliness hilarious.


Launching into the Wheels on the Bus or Itsy Bitsy Spider can be the golden ticket when it comes to grabbing and holding your baby’s attention for photos. So what about older kids? Turn singing songs into a fun challenge to see who can sing the whole song through their teeth while holding a smile and looking at the camera. You might be pleasantly surprised with the results! Another fun way to use singing is to have everyone loudly sing a family favorite and enjoy photos of whatever spontaneous cuteness results from bonding in a silly way.

Tickle Fights

Tickling is pretty much a foolproof way to get your kids to laugh. Even if you have a moody toddler, it doesn’t take long for a smile to crack when they’re being tickled. Incorporating playful tickling or all-out tickle fights into your photo session is a fun way to bond as a family and get some joy-filled photos.

Candid Moments of Play

Depending on the location of your photo session and the ages of your kids, allowing them some free play and exploration time can result in some beautiful candid photos. Let your children enjoy their environment and have fun playing in fall leaves, dipping their toes in a stream, or picking wildflowers. If you have an indoor session, let them play with toys or props and see what genuine and joy-filled images are able to be captured from allowing them to be in a natural state of play. 

Interactive Games

Incorporating little games into your family photo session can help lighten the mood and help your children feel both relaxed and excited. From Simon Says to peek-a-boo or a spontaneous dance party, there are so many ways to use interactive games to get those genuine smiles from your children, and some silly candid shots as well!

Baby girl in dad's arms playing a game of peek-a-boo.
Smiling children running toward the photographer during a photo shoot in a wooded area in Maryland.

Playful Props

Props are a wonderful way to bring extra creativity, uniqueness, and fun to your photoshoot. The sky’s the limit when it comes to the kind of accessories or items you could incorporate into your photo session. Whether it’s colorful balloons, silly hats, or favorite toys, props can add such a fun and whimsical element to your photos. If you need inspiration, drop by a local store like Party City in Frederick, Maryland, which has everything from balloons to giant swirly lollipops! Talk to your photographer and see what you can bring to make your family photo session a blast! You can also find more timeless-looking props and toys like these Wooden Toys and Montessori toys, which work well for an in studio session. These are easy for little hands to hold, and offer opportunities for your photographer to capture your child at play, while adding a timeless look to your photos. In my New Market studio, I have a few neutral-looking stuffed animals and lovies that kids enjoy holding during the photo session and photograph beautifully, like these…

Smiling toddler girl holding bunny stuffed animal in a Frederick County photography studio.
Newborn baby girl holding teddy bear in a New Market studio crib.

Embracing Imperfections

Family photo sessions can come with a lot of pressure. You put a lot of prep work into making sure everyone’s hair and clothes look nice, you worked everyone’s schedules around the photo shoot, and got everyone to the destination. You have invested time and money, and you’re just hoping it will all be worth it. Let me tell you from experience that the most beautiful images I have captured have come from the moments that were filled with the most joy. So allow yourself to let go of your desire for perfection and instead show up ready to enjoy your family with all their quirks and imperfections, and let your photographer capture the beauty of your family enjoying one another. 

Schedule Your Family Photo Session Today!

If you are local to the New Market, MD, area and looking for a family photographer, I would love to assist! Simply send me a message and we’ll get the ball rolling. I will answer any questions you have, explain my process, and we’ll get your session on the calendar!

Three children running and laughing at the Howard County Conservancy.

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