Eight Tips For Styling Children For Photo Shoots

Apr 02, 2024

There are many Photo Styling Niches (Food, Fashion, Lifestyle Wardrobe, Product, Jewelry, Home/Interiors and SO much more!) Sometimes, we are called upon as a Photo and Prop Stylist to style something other than what we are currently (or use to) styling.  For example, I was a Children’s Lifestyle Stylist for a long time and then started to style both Interiors and food outside the realm of children lifestyle styling.  So, it can happen in your career that you may 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 or food styling shoot that client would like to add kids and you are asked to style them.  It's great to be prepared and add more to your services.  As I alway say . . . What Is Under Your Photo Styling Business Umbrella?  




While your Photographer will be scheduling, be mindful that children should be scheduled at a time where they are well-rested. Well rested children will have a better energy level and mood disposition. ;)  (Be 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. You have a very limited time to "get the shots". 


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.  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)  Toys and activities are always added to my Photo and Prop Styling Kit when I'm styling children.  


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  HMU (Hair Makeup Artist) may not be on set, so I bring those items in case we need them.) and no matter what I am styling, these words I would NEVER say 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.  That is one of the skills and traits you need as a photo stylist ~ patience. 

Whatever your photo and prop styling niche is, always be mindful about working with photographers, creative team, and (models) and how to make the photo shoot organized and smooth.  We talk about it in 15 Tips For Photo Stylists Working with Photographers and, if you're testing with Photographers, check out 15 Things Photographers Look For When They Are Testing You.

Bonnie ~

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Image Credit  |  Lynne Graves
Styling |Bonnie Aunchman
Model | Rhys Cote




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