5 Tips for Photographing your Kids

February 1, 2016

Professional children's photographer

Looking for tips for photographing your kids at home?  You’re in the right place!  Here are my 5 best tips for photographing your own kids!

Some of my fondest memories with my own children are of our little ‘photo sessions’.  My goal wasn’t just to photograph them but to play and make it fun, too.   I wouldn’t try to pose them or get them to look a certain way….. I just took photos.   The images you’ll see in this article were all taken before I was shooting professionally.

Whether you’re using a DSLR, a point-and-shoot camera, or an iPhone, you can benefit from these tips for photographing your kids.  Try some out and let me know how it goes- I’d love to see your results!  Though you won’t find any technical information here- using your camera on manual settings, depth of field or colour balance etc.  This post is 5 tips for photographing your kids, but you may also want to check out  this article on taking better pictures with your smartphone: https://www.wired.com/story/how-to-take-better-photos-with-your-phone/


Soft, natural lighting is best. Try using window light (with no direct sun on your subject).  If outside, stay out of direct sunlight and instead choose a shady spot near trees or buildings.  Overcast days work great too!

Try this:  Put your child directly next to the window!

Find the best light for photographing your kids
On the left, my daughter sits next to a south-facing window in my home. We rarely get direct sunlight coming in this window, due to an overhang and trees that provide some shade. On the right, my son is beside a north-facing, window- generally the best side of the house for nice soft diffused light.


Remove messes and distracting elements from your scene.  I’ve been known to move furniture to create a backdrop that is simple and clutter-free.  That said- do not follow this tip for every situation!  Don’t ever miss a moment because your house is untidy, or the background looks cluttered!!!  Save this one for those times when you really want to explore your child’s personality in photos.

Try this: Photograph your children in a doorway- they will be nicely lit but the indoors and clutter behind them will disappear in the darkness.

Play with light when photographing your kids
On the left, my son is inside looking out the screen door. On the right I am sitting in the patio doorway, looking in- notice the clutter in the background that has nearly disappeared in the darkness.



Shooting from standing looking down can be an interesting perspective- showing how small your child is.  But if you want some really great interaction and direct eye contact, try sitting, or even laying down.  Get close, and engage with your child and you’ll get some wonderful expressions that show their personality.

Try this:  When working with babies who don’t walk, lay down with them to photograph them for an interesting perspective.

Photograph your kids at their level
In both cases here I was laying down on my belly to get real close to the action.  In my experience, you’ll get the best results when photographing your kids when you are at their level.


Try to begin photographing your kids while they are quietly playing, immersed in a game, book, their sibling, or even their own thoughts.  Eventually, they will turn their attention to you and the camera, but these images of quiet moments may become your most cherished.

Try this:  Have your camera accessible- you never know when you need it!  Having it ready means you can get to it before your subject notices.

capture the quiet moments when children are unaware of camera
Some of my favourite images are quiet moments that my children are having with each other.


Taking many shots of your subject will increase the chance of getting some winning images.  It is not uncommon that I take 20 images of my child, keeping only the 3-5 best.  You will get some great variety this way- different facial expressions, laughs, cries- all things that you will want to remember about your child’s personality.

Try this:  Take a series of images of your child – spend a few minutes exhausting the possibilities; changing the angle, interacting, peek-a-boo from behind the camera.  See how many amazing pictures you can get of  your kids!

Take lots of photographs of your kids
The picture above came from this series of images taken. There are 3 that I love and printed, out of 18 frames.

Most importantly, please please please back up the photos you take of your kids!  Your family photos are your legacy, and they need to be kept in safe, up-to-date backups.  Better yet, have them printed.  Cell phones, memory cards, hard drives and CD and DVD’s fail ALL THE TIME.  I know from experience that you will be heartbroken to lose any of your precious memories.  I lost a good chunk of photos from my son’s babyhood when he knocked over my back-up hard drive.  Luckily I had my favourites printed, or I would have lost them all.  Please learn from my mistake, get your photos printed, and the digital copies backed up on a back-up service or multiple hard drives.

Taking your family photos at home is important, but so are professional photos every year or two!  Get in touch here to book your annual family photoshoot!

That was a different kind of blog post for me, I hope you enjoyed my 5 best tips for photographing your kids!  Feedback in the comment section most welcome!



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