10 Tips to Take Better Pictures of Your Kids

10 Tips to Take Better Pictures of Your Kids

10 Tips to Take Better Pictures of Your Kids


10 Tips to Take Better Pictures of Your Kids

Taking pictures of your own kids can be a difficult task to say the least. Taking amazing pictures seems impossible. Kids and toddlers always seem to be their craziest once that camera comes out. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to set up an elaborate photo shoot for my kids and s*it has hit the fan. Outfits planned, location scouted, props lugged along-all to be a huge waste of time.  It’s stressful for a parent and the child.  Over the years as a professional photographer (and parent) I have learned these 10 tips to take better pictures of your kids.

1. Stop forcing it!

I used to think my little ones owed it to me to give me a couple good smiles after all the   thought I put into a photo session.  You have to change your mindset and realize they don’t owe you those smiles. Deep down, you know how miserable it can be for a little one to have outfit changes and sit and pose for a camera. Put yourself in their shoes and make it enjoyable. Stop with the forced, posed sessions.  I have had a few successes with posed shoots, but they are always stressful for both parties. Looking back, I enjoy the documentary-style photos I’ve taken when my kids are being themselves.  It’s a bonus if they don’t know the camera is there. They will be more likely to be themselves and great pictures will be captured.

2. Capture real moments

This is very similar to tip #1.  Think about scenarios or places where your little ones are happy.  Where they laugh, play, and enjoy life. This may be different for different ages. This bathtub shoot below took minimal prep. I have to sit in the bathroom anyways, so I grabbed my camera and snapped away.

Also, remember to capture ALL emotions.  I have a soft spot for my sons sad face and him throwing a fit is a huge part of life with a toddler. I’m going to look back when he’s older and be so happy that I captured all of the emotions at every age.


3. Change up the camera angle

You will often see “get on their level” when reading about tips to take pictures of children. While this is very true, you can also play with different angles.  I love to lie down to capture the emotion of direct eye contact but I also love the arial view of him playing. It shows a different mood and adds a fresh perspective to my the photos.

4. Lighting is key

Avoid harsh lighting situations.  I try to avoid outside mid-day or I try to get them in a completely shaded area. Inside, I’m aware of the times of day where the light is too harsh and beams into certain rooms. Play around with the light. I prefer capturing my little ones playing before sunset outdoors or in the late afternoon in the main living area in my house.



5. Get close

When I first started in photography, I always focused on the entire background and getting a full body shot of my subject. Over time, I have realized that some of my favorite and most emotional images are those that are taken close to the subject.  The background fades away and your child is the focus, which will capture a more dramatic image.

6. Ask them to do something fun!

I like to prompt my children to spin around like a princess or jump as high as they can.  Even if you don’t get a good action shot, the result is usually some laughs and natural smiles.

7. Limit the toddlers motion

I like to plan a location for my 17 month old where he has fun but has limited movement. A swing at the park or the bathtub are both great places. The movement is predictable and limited. You can focus on playing with your little ones while snapping a few shots vs. chasing after them in hopes they will stop moving for 2 seconds.

8. When all else fails, fart jokes.

Okay, I’m somewhat serious with this one.  I have had trouble photographing my daughter as she has gotten older. She is out of the crazy toddler phase but is now more self-conscious around the camera. This usually results in her being very aware of the camera and giving me a very fake smile. I sometimes have to fake a fart or talk about something else that will make her crack a real smile.

9. Stop telling and start doing

What do I mean by this? Stop telling your children to smile or “say cheese.”  Telling them to smile while threatening to take away their special treat you initially bribed them with will not result in a happy child. Make them smile without telling them to. Ask them about their favorite memory or an inside joke between your family.  Think about what your child loves and use that to prompt real, genuine smiles and laughs.

10. Relax!

You know your kids the best. That can also be the reason they don’t behave like angels with mom or dad when the camera comes out. Try to have fun with them. Don’t get stressed with it-kids can sense your frustration and it will usually go downhill. Photography takes practice. and photographing little ones takes even more practice. If a shoot doesn’t go well, put your camera away and keep picking it back up. Stay at it. I promise you it will be worth it!

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10 Tips to Take Better Pictures of Your Kids

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