Secrets to having a successful family session: A Dolly DeLong Photography Summer series (Nashville, TN)

Nashville family photographer, Dolly DeLong Photography LLC shares her best tips and secrets on how to joyfully work with children for family photography sessions (read below for tip #1)

Many of you may already know this, but I love working with children for family photo sessions, and I have been tremendously blessed to have developed such rich and deep relationships with so many families since I started photography in 2007 when I first moved to Nashville. Obviously, I know that working with children can be quite challenging, and sometimes I have heard other photographers express their dread in working with kids.  But for me, personally, I adore 99.9% of kids I interact with, and ever since becoming a mom myself I have enjoyed interacting with kids even more because it gives me a glimpse into what Blaise may be like in the future!

It has been on my heart for a while to start a series about how to work with children for family sessions, and I wanted this blog series to be a resource for other photographers who may be working with families in their businesses, and I also wanted these posts to be a resource for families to use so that they know how best to prepare for their sessions with me! For the next 10 weeks, I’m going to take you along with me and offer my secrets of how I work with children, and their families, to have a successful (and fun) photography session that is both memorable and joyful. I hope this helps you out in some way, but mostly I hope it encourages you not to be so intimated to work with children (because kids are actually quite fun)!

Tip #1 Be sure to schedule your family session around nap times 

Okay, Mama, I’m talking to you. I know that you are most likely looking at Pinterest and whatever lovely images you see on the interwebs, and you want your family to look a certain way. You’ve researched, and the best lighting would supposedly be at 2:46 PM, and you know logically that that is little Sadie’s nap time, but you must have those gorgeous photos or else your family’s Christmas card will be ruined. Ruined, I say. (Hopefully, you know I’m joking around!) Your family photos will not be ruined if you do not get the ideal time, but your family photography experience may be stressful if you forget that your child turns into Ursula the sea witch from The Little Mermaid whenever she doesn’t get a proper nap. If you have a family photographer, they should hopefully accommodate your family’s schedule and give you several time frames to choose from. Then you can determine which will be best for your child’s naptime schedules. I have learned this the hard way in the past, so this is why I include this helpful tip for other family photographers, and for families who want to work with me.  A child’s naptime must be accounted for. Otherwise, 99% of the time a tired meltdown occurs, and it’s not because you are an awful parent; it’s because that poor kid is exhausted and overstimulated from being thrown into a beautiful outfit and told they have to take a pretty photo for the next 30-60 minutes. Remember, a well-rested kid is a happy kid, and a happy kid most likely will cooperate for a photography session. 

Tip #1 may be such an obvious secret, but ALOT of parents/photographers forget to account for nap schedules all for the sake of “ideal times”, so just be flexible and if you have hired a good photographer, they will know how to work with light!  So while I have your attention on the topic of nap times….my son is napping right now so I need to wrap up this sentence before he wakes up-yikes! Tune in next week for tip #2 on how to work with children for a family photography session!

Was this tip helpful? Can you share if this has ever happened to you as a photographer OR as a parent working with a family photographer? If you have a funny story, PLEASE SHARE in the comments because I love a good story!


If you are an expectant mom-to-be and are wondering what a maternity family experiences looks like, click HERE for an example!

As always, thank you so much for keeping up with my family & photography adventures! I love serving you all through photography and I love sharing my stories with you! Have a wonderful week! Tune in next week for tip #2 on how to work with children for a family photography session! 

meet your friendly Nashville family photographer

Dolly DeLong is a wife to a super cute computer nerd, mama to a little drool machine, and a destination wedding and luxury family photographer based out of Nashville, Tennessee. Even though she loves all things social media,  Dolly was born in the mid-80s, so she likes to stress to people she is not a cool Millennial, and she remembers dial-up internet from when she was in high school. Whenever she has a spare moment, she enjoys watching TV (i.e. Survivor), eating way too many sweets, and listening to podcasts while running or walking. To work with Dolly DeLong Photography LLC, please email her at or fill out her contact form here.

Nashville Intimate Wedding Photographer and Luxury Family Photographer Dolly DeLong Photography LLC

  1. […] out on Tips #1-#9? Read Tip #1 HERE, Tip #2 HERE,  Tip #3 HERE, Tip #4 HERE,  Tip #5 HERE,  tip #6 HERE, tip #7  HERE,  […]

  2. […] out on Tips #1-#8? Read Tip #1 HERE, Tip #2 HERE,  Tip #3 HERE, Tip #4 HERE,  Tip #5 HERE,  tip #6 HERE, tip #7  HERE, and tip […]

  3. […] out on Tips #1-#7? Read Tip #1 HERE, Tip #2 HERE,  Tip #3 HERE, Tip #4 HERE,  Tip #5 HERE,  tip #6 HERE, and finally tip #7 […]

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