Photo Styling Tips for Styling Children

Ever been asked to style “outside” of your styling speciality? For those who are new here, I’m a Children’s Lifestyle Stylist. (I style wardrobe, interiors and food with/for children) My mission and love:  “I style for the young and young at heart” (because others love that whimsical, playful style too!) and “I style happy”. But, as you know, now I have transitioned into photo styling education and stylist coaching as well.

Sometimes you are called upon as a Photo Stylist to style something other than what you are currently styling.  For example, I was a Children’s Lifestyle Stylist for a very long time and then for a brief period of time styled both Interiors and food outside of the realm children lifestyle styling.  So, it can happen in your career that you might be called to style outside of your area of styling speciality.  You could be doing either an interior shoot that your client would like to add kids to or food styling that they would like to add kids to and you are asked to dress (style) them. Here are my tips for wardrobe styling children.

◼︎ While your Photographer will be scheduling, be mindful that children are scheduled at a time where they are well-rested.  (Mindful of nap time for younger kids)

◼︎ Children usually have a shorter attention span. (Ensure your styling is organized, prepared and efficient.) Make sure your Photographer (& child) are not waiting for you!  Time is important when photographing children.

◼︎ When I style children I always, always bring snacks! (kids could arrive without eating which may = “cranky”) & those snacks are always light in color! (think: flavored water/white grape juice) and the snacks are never ever sweet/candy snacks or “messy snacks” (Think: healthy/fruit) .  Sweet snacks could result in children getting a little “anxious”.  (Also, never give anything to a child without FIRST asking their parent.)  Also, ensure that you take shooting wardrobe off (or cover model completely) before giving them a snack. (Best to take a “snack break” so they can take off wardrobe - but sometimes that is not possible.)

◼︎  Along with snacks I also bring small toys, coloring books and small travel games for kids just in case there is some down time for whatever reason.  (You could be waiting for another model that is late, equipment may need to be fixed . . .)  So, be prepared.  I always bring a little box of these items - but today - chances are they will be coming to the shoot with their own phones to occupy their time.  Yes, toddlers have phones now. 😳  Oh . . . & be prepared to give them the items you give them to play with - you can’t take a toy away from a child! (There are a lot of cost-effective, fun toys/items you can get)

◼︎ Don’t rely on Parents bringing requested items or preparing kids for shoot. I always bring undergarments for children to wear under wardrobe, nail polish remover and nail clippers and a concealer matching their skin tone to cover anything up. (Remember, a groomer may not be on set, so I bring those items in case we need them.) and no matter what I am styling, these words have NEVER come out of my mouth on a styling job to a Photographer:  “Can you fix that in Post?”

◼︎  Again, the Photographer/Client may not hire a Children’s Groomer, so I always bring a supply of hair products in case I have to fix (braid or ponytail) hair along with a supply of accessories that match both wardrobe and the child’s hair color.

*Make sure all your products are safe and sanitary. (hair products, beauty products)

◼︎  This has been my experience (& it may be yours, so I wanted to share my thoughts) When I receive clothing sizes, oftentimes If I am using a wardrobe vendor/supplier, I request the size up and down with many options or if I am shopping, I get a couple sizes in each garment.  This is why:  Oftentimes, Parents either do not update sizes or they give you the size they buy for their children with “growing room” that really, for a photo shoot does not fit properly.  (So, bring clips and tools to “cheat” clothing fit) and get extra sizes.

◼︎  Just a reminder when working with kids:  be fun, be patient and when talking with them knell down or sit down when talking to them.

As always, be mindful of the tips we talk about when working with Photographers/Clients.  Like we discussed in this Blog Post - How to Make Photographers Love you!

This Post photography was taken by New York City Photographer @elizabethpetteyphoto #elizabethpetteyphotography (Website: ElizabethPettey) whose photography I love! The thoughts, tips, opinions in this Post are all my own.  I asked Elizabeth permission to let me share her images with you. You have to check out her feed!  We all need a dose of “happy” 😀 right about now, right!? & this is the feed to find it!  The expressions she captures, the playfulness, the happy, the colors and her talent! - love!  


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