Tips to Prepare Your Children for Pictures with Santa

Photography Tips

It’s not quite Christmas without a few pictures with Santa and if this is the first time your baby or toddler will be having their photo taken with the big man in red, it’s particularly exciting. However, if your child isn’t great with strangers, you might be feeling a bit concerned about whether you’ll be able to get any good photos at all – these tips should help make the experience more fun.

Before the Santa Shoot

  • Get your child excited. When a child sees Santa in real life for the first time, it can be a little overwhelming. The hat, the bright red suit and a giant fake beard half falling off can all be a little much for some children. However, by getting them excited and showing them what to expect, the whole process might go a little smoother. Watch a few Christmas movies or read them a book about it to get them in the know.
    • Favourite Christmas Movies: Elf (2003), A Christmas Story (1983), The Polar Express (2004), Arthur Christmas (2011), Stick Man (2015), Elf On The Shelf (2011)
    • Favourite Christmas Books: Santa Jaws, I’ve Seen Santa, Dinosaur Christmas, Twas The Night Before Christmas, Mog’s Christmas
  • Visit your local Shopping Centre. Another way to get your little one used to the idea of Santa is to visit a shopping centre the day before your photo shoot so that you can show him/her what he looks like and what they can expect during their photos.

The Day of the Santa Shoot

  • Get there early. Standing in a long line full of hyper children can be stressful for you and your child, so it’s best to get there early if you can. Plus, seeing Santa earlier in the day will ensure you see him at his jolliest.
  • Work around your child’s schedule. Obviously, if getting there early is going to interfere with your child’s naptime or snack time, you’ll want to work around that. A well-rested child who has a full tummy will be much more happier.
  • Jump in the photo. If your child is feeling nervous, you should be prepared to be included in a shot or two to get them to feel comfortable. This means making sure you arrive photo ready just in case.
  • Just go with it. Many parents are disappointed when their child doesn’t play along for photos, but this is something you can’t predict or avoid so it’s best just to roll with it and enjoy the experience as much as you can. Crying photos are ok too. 

In the weeks leading up to your pictures with Santa, you may even want to get your child to practice posing for the camera as extra preparation. However even with all these tips and being a professional photographer myself things don’t always go to plan. Check out the first photo below of my dad, me and yes no one else but Santa. Both kids had a complete meltdown but as we had paid for the photo we decided to go with it. It’s now one of my favourite Christmas photos with dad and one we always have a good chuckle over.

Our family photos with Santa

That’s all my top tips but let me know if you have any more in the comments below. Or feel free to share your favourite awkward family photos with Santa, I’d love to see them!




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