with Courtney Slazinik
6 Steps To Quick and Easy Mini Photo Shoot


Have you ever thought, I sure would like to do a mini photo shoot with my little one but I don’t have the time? Well, that doesn’t have to be the case. You would be surprised how easy photo shoots can be. Here are some tips from my last little photo shoot which lasted 10-15 minutes.

We started out on my front step just so I could capture a shot of Kate in her outfit she picked out herself. I wasn’t please with the background and decided to change things up a bit. Now, these photos which required no pre-planning are some of my favorite!

1. Look right outside your door. We have this terribly ugly shrubbery section beside our house. Seriously, ugly! But, if I keep my aperture pretty wide open (a low enough number) then it helps to blur the background which makes it not look so ugly.

On front step

Moved to side yard

2. Don’t have huge expectations, especially if you are photographing kids! Children don’t have long attention spans and if you just want to capture some great pictures of your kids don’t make them sit still for a long time. You know the saying “KISS – Keep it simple, stupid” well when working with kids “Keep it short, stupid”.

3. Have a few simple props. I grabbed these white chairs from their play table and the famous plastic pearl necklaces. The girls had fun sitting on the chairs since it was something special to have our inside chairs outside. It doesn’t take much to impress kids.

4. Capture their personalities. Don’t expect every picture you take of your kids to be looking and smiling at you. Allow them to be goofy and let their little personalities shine through.

5. Give them a break. This is especially good if you are photographing more than one child. Allow one of them to go off and play, pick flowers, or watch the birds. While they are playing praise the one who is in front of the camera and before you know it the other child will be asking to get in front of the camera again.

6. Thank them for being such good models. Even if they weren’t, kids like to feel just as important as we do. Can you imagine someone asking to take our picture for 10 minutes then not thanking us for our time? I know I would be frustrated.

  • January 10, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    I realized I will have to learn to be more creative while shooting Bennett and my nephew last week. It was nice to be at my sister’s because we literally dressed the kids, picked up the Thomas the Train couch, walked outside, and across the road to a big open field and I was done in <15 minutes. However, I so wish my pics looked like yours. The clarity is great. They always look so clean and pure. I must keep working, but I know I need to take another class to improve.

    • January 11, 2011 at 1:53 PM

      If you ever want to send me a photo with the settings I can help you figure out how to get them just as clear :O) Glad you had fun! Those were some adorable pictures you captured :O)

      • January 7, 2013 at 9:10 AM

        I might take you up on that offer too! I was actually just thinking the same thing about your photos. The clarity is amazing. I can’t figure out how to get mine looking that sharp.

  • January 10, 2011 at 11:35 AM

    Great tips. :D I did 3 mini shoots this weekend. ha ha.

    • January 11, 2011 at 1:53 PM

      You must be EXHAUSTED :O)

  • January 10, 2011 at 11:18 PM

    Great tips! Thank you for condensing them and keeping it simple :)

  • January 11, 2011 at 12:02 AM

    Your pictures make me crave Spring & warmer weather so we can go outside and have bright pictures! {more snow on the way, yippee }

    My 3-year old is getting to the point where I can say “make a face” or “pose like this” and she does it so I will have to steal her away for some mini shoots this week & see what I can come up with! :)

  • January 11, 2011 at 1:55 AM

    All of your photos were terrific but I especially love the one of your oldest throwing her head back & her hands up!! :) Precious & pretty!

    Happy Monday!

  • January 12, 2011 at 1:26 AM

    I absolutely loved your little article about getting Kate’s sillouette. I admire your photography so much! I guess it is human nature to look at someone else and think that they just do what they do with such ease, and are successful every time they pick up the camera. I did a little photo shoot with two DIL’s and their 5 children at a historic farm near here, late last summer. I had four of the kids on a rustly old truck. (two 7 yr old girls and two four yr old boys) Having seen what others have done, I wanted to capture something similar. One DIL was upset with me because I was encouraging the kids to cooperate and behave nicely. She finally said…:”It doesn’t matter!!!” Two things happened. I started snapping photos of them acting up because it didn’t matter to her. They are some of my favorites now. Next thing…they went to a professional for their annual family photo because they needed someone that the children would behave for. When I got my Christmas card, I was shocked to see that every photo on there was one I had taken. The professional was not able to get one shot of everyone together looking good, plus they had not been able to afford to purchase them yet. I’m just too hard on myself sometimes, and from your article about your struggle to get this AWESOME sillouette, I see that I’m not alone. BTW…that same family that was so hard, my son and 3 kids….We met up in the mountains in the wildflowers, for a family shoot, just a week or so after the farm incident…I struggled with their family group shot but it’s the same time I got the great Moose pictures. Maybe I need to get that perfect shot out of my head and go with whatever is happening and enjoy the ride. Thanks for your insights.

    • March 8, 2014 at 9:24 PM

      I love what you wrote: Maybe I need to get that perfect shot out of my head and go with whatever is happening and enjoy the ride. That is my problem. It does feel better to know I’m not alone in being my biggest critic!

  • Meghan
    March 25, 2013 at 10:09 AM

    Super helpful article! It was short and to the point, and the pictures that went along with each tip really illustrated what you were talking about. I’m definitely going to try this right away. Thank you!

    • Courtney
      March 26, 2013 at 2:58 PM

      Good luck!! Hope you are able to capture some images you love :)

  • LeeAnne
    March 8, 2014 at 10:00 PM

    The clarity on more than one subject at a time is also my challenge, especially with my 50mm. Any tips? I’ve tried F8 but where do I focus to get both kids in focus,nice and sharp? Your pictures and tips/articles are awesome! Thanks so much for all your helpful insight.

    • March 11, 2014 at 1:41 PM

      Hey LeeAnne,

      Thanks! I would put the focal point the eye of one of your children that is closest to the other child.

  • Sue
    March 8, 2014 at 10:25 PM

    Great advice

  • March 9, 2014 at 5:53 PM

    My kids love to help me set up my 365Project shot each day and quite often end up becoming the star. It is the props that help keep them focused on the theme I amy have in mind and then their creativity that gives the photo meaning for me. Number 3 and number 4 are my favourite tips

  • Nathaly Sherrill (TotalExpressions)
    March 10, 2014 at 7:22 AM

    I will be so glad when Spring finally arrives so do 10 – 15 minutes shoot with my little girl. Thank you for the tips. Your kids are so cute. Greetings.


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