Let’s Play: Advice for Fun, Playful, Child-Led Photo Sessions with Melissa Miller

Picture this scene: You’re shooting a children’s photo session and the kids are crying, their parents are frazzled, and no one is having a good time, especially not you. Maybe you’ve experienced this yourself, or you’ve at least heard horror stories about this happening. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are strategies you can use to make it a more playful and fun photo session. Happy kiddos equal happy photos, after all. 

In today’s episode, I’m interviewing Melissa Miller, a children and family photographer and educator. She shares why children-led photo sessions that incorporate play lead to better photos, why the pre-session questionnaire for kids is so important, and some tips for photographing shy or reserved children.

Melissa also shares with me what she wishes all photographers knew about themselves and it’s such an important reminder for all of us. 

What’s in this episode:

  • [02:15] Melissa’s approach to children-led, playful photo sessions, and the importance of a pre-session questionnaire 
  • [03:47] Her advice for photographers who might not naturally connect with children
  • [05:52] Melissa’s suggestions for a particularly tough session with kids who are upset or don’t want to be photographed
  • [09:16] What to do when you’re photographing children who are shy or introverted
  • [10:05] How honoring your child’s wishes of not wanting their photo posted online is important
  • [20:03] Something Melissa wishes every photographer knew about themselves

Tune in to this episode for tips on children-led, playful photo sessions that don’t end in tears.

SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts | Spotify |

Want to put an end to awkward moments in your photo sessions and create genuine connection? Download The Storyteller’s Toolkit today, featuring 200+ emotive photography prompts, so you’re never left wondering what to say. 

Meet Melissa 

Melissa Miller is a children and family photographer whose work is often described as magical. She began her photography career more than 20 years ago through journalism and returned to her camera after eight years as an elementary school teacher. She loves children and has a lifetime of experience working and playing with them. She continues to teach at child focused photography retreats, and she also produces commercial children’s lifestyle work for companies like Gerber Children’s wear. She lives in western Washington with her husband, two daughters and golden retriever.

Connect with Melissa

Follow Melissa on Instagram

Join her Facebook Group: That Beautiful Childhood: Photography Education by Melissa Miller

Take her Click Photo School Course: 101 Ways to Play: Fresh, Fun, Family Photography

Did this episode inspire you to incorporate more playfulness into your children-led photo sessions? Check out this episode In the Wild: Adventure Family Photography with Rebecca Lueck that offers you even more insight on finding alignment in your business!

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