We all know how challenging it can be when all you want is that perfect family photo. Or hey, at least one with the majority with a smile on their face or even just looking at the camera.

We can help! Well the talented Jade Philp from Jade Philp – Barossa Family Photographer can!


Jade offers her clients a luxury service from shoot to print. Photographing families with newborns, all the way through to generational portraits – She is known for and loves to capture each family with a unique and natural style. Jade isn’t one for the formal posed shots of your family. She aims to capture genuine laughter, personality and imagination. Her sessions are largely focused around “play”, for the kids and adults. The sessions are always fun and light hearted and even the most reluctant husbands (and sometimes wives) go home and say “Ohhh it wasn’t even that bad!”. 


For Jade, it is all about connecting happy memories with the photographs that are taken. Ones where you can look back on and remember the genuine happiness you were feeling in that moment, rather than memories of wishing it was over already! 


As a mum, she knows too well how painful it can be sometimes getting your children to look nice or “normal” in a photograph (Photographer’s Child Syndrome is apparently a very real thing).. So – being a photographer who specialises in capturing natural moments and real, genuine emotion – Here are Jade’s top 3 TIPS to capture your own children without having to make them say “CHEESE!”


? ONE : Give your kids an activity to do and capture them in the moment doing the activity.

Sorry, but unless you basically have a unicorn as a child – 9 times out of 10, they won’t stand still for you lol Asking your kids to stand still and smile is a direct child translation to “Run away and look like a bush pig while you do it”.. Some ideas for activities/prompts that I use all the time in my sessions are : 


  • Can you go over there and pick that beautiful flower for me – I wonder what it smells like?
  • Wow, I love your dress/shorts/shoes today – Can you show me how you can twirl/jump/spin in them?!
  • Do you think you could jump and reach the clouds? I bet you can, you should show me how high you go! 
  • You have such a serious face on – Do you want to see my silly face? How about you show me your silly face? (Cue a scream with disbelief) – What about your happy face? (BOOM – Their cutest smile ever!)

As part of this – As a professional, it takes a certain type of person who really loves kids to interact with them this way – You need to be over the top, engaging and fun. You really need to understand them, what makes them excited and helps them to feel special and important. If you’re photographing your own kids – You know them best – Speak to their little souls and get them to engage in things they absolutely love doing and help them be excited about it by being excited yourself! 


? TWO : Whatever you do – Don’t make it into a chore.

If your kids are anything like mine and you ask them to do anything – They instantly lose function of their legs and arms and turn into mystical sloths that whinge around the house about being asked to pick up their half eaten apple off the floor! The second you turn being photographed into a job they have to do – They shut down and you have T-Minus 27 seconds to get that damn shot before you start having to negotiate down a tantrum.

 Language is a big factor here – Instead of saying – “You need to have a photo for grandma” or “You have to smile for me”.. Change the dialect – “Oh gosh – I’d sure love to get a picture of your awesome drawing, lets show grandma how clever you are!” – Get them to take a photo first, then ask if you can take one of them.. Gauge what mood they’re in and make it a game and something that they want to engage in! 


? THREE : Lower your expectations and relax..

The children can smell your stress, I swear… I think a shift in mindset is good here too. As parents we don’t need photos of them fake smiling all the time – Some of the BEST pictures that you will cherish FOREVER are the ones that are technically “imperfect pictures”. The ones where your kids are being crazy, and showing their personalities. As they grow old, you’ll forget their quirks they once had and capturing them in photographs is the best way to remember! Just let them, be them and they’ll be the images you want to keep forever! Save the cheesey

 Smiles for the school photographer 😉 



Jump onto her experience guide magazine here: www.jadephilp.com.au/experience-guide

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