Photo Session Treasure Box

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Excited to have my guest photographer, Jessica back today!

I have been photographing families professionally for about 2 years. In that time I have learned many things to help my sessions go more smoothly… prep the family, scout locations, advise on clothing, have a plan B, shoot at golden hour, etc. All of those have helped a lot but the one idea that has helped me the most is having a photo session “treasure box” for the little ones after the session. After all, who doesn’t love a little reward for a job well done??

After doing a few sessions where I had picked out a little surprise for the child or children I was photographing, a light bulb moment came to me… TREASURE BOX! Instead of *me* selecting a coloring book or stuffed animal for the kids, why not fill a box with lots of fun treats and toys and let the kids pick out a couple of items after the session? Ding, ding, ding!!



I went right to Target’s dollar area, “One Spot”, and filled my cart with all sorts of fun items. I also picked out a clear plastic bin covered in colorful hearts to put all the loot into. A treasure box was born.


When filling the box I do not buy anything over $1. To stretch my dollar even further I also look for $1 items that have 2-3 per pack. For example- a pack of dinosaurs I recently found for $1 had 24 dinosaurs so I divided it into 3 sets. What a deal! I have also divided sticker books, bubble packs, water gun sets, etc.

I recently restocked my treasure box and it’s currently filled with coloring books, crayons, tattoos, markers, water toys, beach balls, jump ropes, mini WebKinz, Slinkys, notepads, glitter body spray, glow in the dark stars, silly putty, sidewalk chalk, princess wands, bubbles, doctor’s kits and a few candy choices for the big kids. The selection really wows the kids and the parents seem to appreciate it too. The investment is about $100 per year but the rewards certainly far surpass the small cost.


I keep the treasure box top secret prior to the session. I don’t mention it to the kids until a moment when a child may need a little encouragement or something extra fun to look forward to. I get real close to the kids and tell them quietly about it. Their eyes usually light up and they are intrigued. I took this sweet picture right after I whispered to the kids that I had a surprise for them after the session.


I’d love to say I have a magic wand I wave over the kids before the session and everything goes perfectly. But until the photography gods grant me that power I’ll keep this little trick up my sleeve!



If you’d like more tips for helping people feel comfortable at photo sessions or taking great candid shots, or more, check out the other photography tips.

Join The Discussion



  1. This treasure box idea would work well for other applications too. I’m not a photographer (except of my own family), but a little box of treasures as a parent may be a good idea to have around the house 🙂

  2. really great idea!!!!

  3. Great idea!! Definitely going to be doing this!!

  4. Love, love this idea!
    Thanks for sharing.