Taking the ‘Hell’ out of Family Pictures

Recently, a picture has been circling the web of three children crying (probably screaming) during their family photo shoot.

Children crying during pictures

It’s obviously a funny picture because of the irony that they are holding up the word joy.  To any parent though, it’s just a reality.  Taking family pictures is HELL.  No which way around it.  The younger the kids are, the harder it is.  The more kids in the pictures the harder it is.  And if you, the parents are in it….well bring a bottle of aspirin and some liquor with you (just kidding…. kind of).  With 3 children ages 6 months-5 and having taken pictures at every milestone age, I have learned a few tricks along the way to de-stress the picture taking experience.

10 Tips To Make Family Pictures Less Stressful:

  1. Set a budget beforehand.  Some of these places operate like car dealerships.  No matter what you walk out with, you will feel like you didn’t get what you wanted and you used your child’s college fund to pay for it.  If  you know exactly how many poses you want, how many pictures you want of each child, and exactly what you want to spend, write it down on a paper and take it with you.   These places are good at making you feel like you have to buy every pose, so stand your ground!
  2. Bring Snacks.  It doesn’t matter if your child just ate the biggest feast of his/her life right before the pictures.  Kids have a knack for getting hungry at the most inopportune times.  Also, pack wise snacks such as pretzels and things that wont stain.
  3. Don’t go during nap times.  Those are usually the most open times, and there is a reason for that.  Children,  like adults, need their beauty rest.
  4. Make sure the place you go to uses smart photographers and cameras with  fast shutter speeds.  It sounds like a no-brainer but there are plenty of places I have been to where the photographer gets your kid to smile, and then takes another couple of minutes to go get the camera, fiddle with it and then take the picture.  By which time your child has already left the studio floor and found chocolate to smear on his clothes.  Do research beforehand and read reviews.
  5. Call before you go to find out how they coordinate the picture taking.  Are they open to your suggestions of seating placement?  Will there be a changing room at the studio?  Can you choose the photographer?  Do they start when you arrive, or will there be a long wait?  Do you receive pictures the day of, and if so how long is the wait for that?  Find out as much as you can so that both you and your children can be best prepared.
  6. Give your older children the “task” of helping get the younger children to smile and sit still.  I swear it works.  Not only does it make your older children feel important, but the younger children generally look up to the older ones and are more likely going to listen to them.
  7. Wear a lot of deodorant.  Because, yes, this wonderful family time will cause you to sweat bullets!
  8. Bring a reward chart for your kids.  Make a little sticker chart that you have out while pictures are being taken.  Let your child know every time they do something good and give him/her a sticker for it.  Positive Reinforcement goes a long way!
  9. Try to coordinate the order of pictures with your fussiest child going first, and your most patient child last.
    You want to make sure you get a good picture of your child who just can’t seem to sit still- and the prime time to do that is upon arrival.
  10. Finally, proudly display the best picture from the day on your wall at home so when people come over, they can comment on how lovely and well behaved your children are!  This will also help you forget how awful the experience was guaranteeing you will book your next session soon!

When your child does start acting up, keep calm.  The only thing a parent’s nervousness does, is escalate the situation more negatively.  Remember that your child is bored, not having fun and is a child- it’ll all be over soon!  Feel free to leave a comment about your family picture experiences!

Here is a picture of my kids from our last shoot (note the smiles):

Happy Kids Photo

A-Z Dinners for Kids | Letter A

The Meal:tuna for kids

Main Dish: Albacore Tuna Wrap

Side Dish: Apple Strawberry Kugel Crunch



Albacore Tuna Wrap:

  1. 1 Can of Albacore Tuna
  2. Shredded Cheese
  3. 1 Onion
  4. 1 Tablespoon of Mayo
  5. Soft Burrito Wraps

Apple Strawberry Kugel Crunch:

  1. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 1/2 Cups of Rolled Oats
  3. 3/4 Cups of Sugar
  4. 3/4 of Oil
  5. 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  6. 1 can of Strawberry Pie Filling
  7. 2 Apples peeled and sliced
  8. 1 tsp. Vanilla

Cooking Directions:Apple Strawberry Food

Albacore Tuna Wrap Directions:

  • Dice Onion into tiny squares
  • Mix Onion, Mayo and Tuna in a bowl
  • Place Tuna mix on a wrap
  • Sprinkle cheese over Tuna
  • Roll wrap up
  • Place in oven at 200 degrees for 5-8 minutes

Apple Strawberry Kugle Crunch Directions:

  • Grease 9×13 pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • In a large bowl mix, oats, flour, sugar, oil and vanilla until crumby
  • Place 1/2 of the of the crumbs on the bottom of pan
  • Top with Apples and sprinkle cinnamon on top
  • Pour Strawberry filling over the apples
  • Top with the rest of the crumbs
  • Bake for about 1 hour uncovered


My son loved the and finished his wrap.  My daughter on the other hand liked the wrap, but not the Tuna.  Next time, I’ll have to cut out the onions, because that was the part she said she didn’t like 😦 .  The Apple Strawberry Kugle Crunch can be a side or a dessert.  It is also a great dish to top with ice-cream!

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A-Z Dinners for Kids | Letter Z

The Meal:Z foods for kids

Main Dish: Ziti (Baked)

Side Dish: Zucchini Bread

Dessert: “Z” Cookies



Ziti Noodles:

  1. 1 box of Ziti noodles
  2. 1/2 cup of shredded cheese
  3. 1 cup of pasta sauce

Zucchini Bread:

  1. 3 cups all-purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon salt
  3. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  4. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  5. 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  6. 3 eggs
  7. 1 cup vegetable oil
  8. 2 1/4 cups white sugar
  9. 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  10. 2 cups grated zucchini

“Z” Cookies:

  1. Chocolate Chip Cookies
  2. Any color icing (or black and white icing to create “Zebra” cookies

Cooking Directions:

Ziti Directions:

  • Cook Ziti according to box
  • Drain, and add into a cooking pan
  • Cover with sauce and cheese
  • Pop it in the oven at 300 degrees for about 10 minutes or until Cheese is sufficiently melted

Zucchini Bread Directions:

  • Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  • Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl
  • Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans
  • Bake for 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool


The Zucchini Bread is a great opportunity to get your kid to eat something somewhat healthy :).  I actually tell them its a kind of cake, and they eat it up.      I did the cookies with the icing because it’s an easy, no mess way to include the kids in the preparation.   They had fun putting the icing on, and even more fun eating it.   It was also great writing practice for them!

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A-Z Dinners for Kids | Letter W

The Meal:waffles for kids

Main Dish: Waffles

Dessert: W-shaped Watermelons




  1. Frozen kind = the easiest kind!

Outcome:watermelon for kids

Easy, Easy, Easy! You can never go wrong with breakfast for dinner!  Also, cutting the fruit up in the shape of a “W” makes the kids that much more excited about eating it.  They even had a contest of taking bites out of the watermelon until it looked like a “V”.  It was very cute!

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A-Z Dinners for Kids | Letter N

The Meal:

nuggets and nachos

Main Dish: Nuggets

Side Dish: Nachos

Dessert: Natural Made Popcorn (I would have done Nectarines, but they are out of season)




  1. I used Morning Star Nuggets


natural popcorn

  1. Tortilla Chips
  2. Cheddar Cheese
  3. Mozzarella Cheese
  4. 4 Scallions

Natural Popcorn:

  1. Make your own at home with the kids!

Cooking Directions:

Nacho Directions:

  • Line a foil pan with Nacho Chips
  • Sprinkle shredded cheese (some of both) over chips
  • Layer more chips over the cheese
  • Sprinkle diced scallions over chips (I only put it over half so the kids part was plain)
  • Layer more cheese on the top
  • Place in oven at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted to perfection!


Nuggets work any time.  The nachos were good, especially with the onions.  Other nacho variations would have included beans, but I hate beans (sorry to my husband who likes them).  I really wanted to do something with nectarines, but couldn’t find them at any produce store, so I had to be creative with another N choice.  Alas, I made Natural Popcorn, which my daughter said was cheating.  Although, that didn’t stop her from finishing it off.  Also, I put the popcorn in little popcorn boxes (see above picture) that can be bought at any dollar store.  We let them watch t.v. as they ate it, and it really made it exciting for them!

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