Are you envious at your friends' seemingly-perfect family portraits, and want to proudly display one of your own? Unfortunately, if you don't plan for every eventuality, chances are your kids won't cooperate, and you'll leave the photoshoot empty handed. Instead of dealing with cranky, uncooperative kids, there are several tricks and tips that will help ensure you get the family photo of your dreams. Here are a few tips to get a great family photo, with your kids:

Plan the Photoshoot Wisely

One of the easiest ways to sabotage a photoshoot is to plan it during your child's regular naptime, when they're hungry, or when it is almost time for bed. Talk to your photographer and determine the best time and place for the photoshoot.

For example, if your youngest child usually naps right before lunch, make sure to schedule the session in the afternoon. If another one of your kids is cranky if they don't have dinner right at 5 o'clock, make sure that the photoshoot is over by that time. It's also important to keep the location of the photoshoot in mind.

Remember, your kids will only be cooperative for a short period of time. If you are planning to have your photographer visit multiple locations, make sure to schedule the session in order of importance. For example, if you've always dreamed of having a photo taken at your favorite spot in a nearby park, schedule that stop first. That way, you will get the shots you want before your kids are completely exhausted.

Dressing for the Photoshoot

One of the best things about having a small child during a photoshoot is their flexibility when it comes to fashion choices. Unfortunately, as your kids get older, they will become a lot pickier, and won't want to wear a matching outfit with their younger siblings.

Instead of insisting all of your kids wear matching outfits, give them a little bit of freedom by insisting on a certain theme. For example, tell your kids they can pick what they want, but they must incorporate the color blue in their outfit. If you want all of your daughters to wear dresses or skirts, give your older kids some freedom. You can always coordinate the younger girls' outfits, once you know what your older kids want to wear.

Whatever you choose, remember that this portrait is about capturing your family in the moment. It may not be perfect, but allowing your kids to express themselves will create a more authentic picture.

During the Photoshoot

Before the photoshoot, it is important to pack accordingly, based upon the weather and your children's needs. For example, if it might be chilly, make sure that everyone has a jacket or sweatshirt. Additionally, make sure to pack a snack and a few toys or games to keep the kids occupied while the photographer is setting up each shot.

During the photoshoot, don't hesitate to follow the photographer's lead, and remember, they have plenty of experience working with unruly children! Let the photographer use their tricks to get the picture. If you notice your kids are beginning to wander off or not sit still, consider allowing them to run around and ask the photographer to capture a few shots.

You might be surprised when some of the best photographs are taken when your kids and allowed to have fun and just be kids.

According to Angie's List, the cost to have your photos taken by a professional can range anywhere from $50 to over $500, depending on the photographer. Don't walk away from the photoshoot feeling disappointed and instead, take a few extra steps to ensure your kids and happy and cooperative during the session.