There’s a reason why the children photography industry is in such high demand. It’s not easy to take a child’s picture. Children are active and easily distracted, which is not a great combination when it comes to trying to capture a photo! However, the benefits of having photos of your kids are so monumental that it makes it all worth it.
In fact, there isn’t a single family photo session I regret and even my husband is now a believer of the importance of family and children’s photos!
What I love best about children photography are the candid photos that represent each child’s unique and beautiful personality. If you are preparing to hold your own photo session, this post will offer some kids photography tips to help get you started.
6 Kids Photography Tips
Ultimately you know your children best, and what works for one family may not work for another. Also, keep in mind whether your photos will be printed in color or black and white. This may help you determine what kind of vibe you want your photoshoot to have. Below are some easy tips for photographing children. Follow these pieces of advice, and you’ll find that photographing kids can be quite fun!
Choose an appropriate setting
Picking out an ideal setting is very important when photographing kids. I always think that shooting outside is a good choice. You’ll have natural light, which makes for ideal light. Later in this post I’ll share specific outside places that I recommend when photographing children. If they are young children, being outside will give them space to run and get their energy out rather than being confined to a small space, although capturing those movements will require more energy from you. But in the end, you’re bound to get that frame worthy outdoor shot like this one.
The above photo was taken while we’re on a family vacation in Disney Aulani. Do you see how I positioned the girls so the composition is really cool against the wall? Try to get creative!
Go into these photo sessions reminding yourself that these are children. They are unpredictable, and things will not always go according to your plan. Try to let loose! When you work with children, they sense when we are stressed or tense. If you go into the session with a casual attitude, they will adapt to that. We don’t want them to fake their emotions either. Allow yourself to enjoy the photoshoot, and they will do the same.
The above photo is still one of my favorites, and it was taken in our backyard! My husband was spraying them with a hose while the girls were playing under a umbrella so I grabbed my camera to capture this candid moment. I love the natural expressions on their faces. This photo still hangs on a wall of our home.
Make them laugh
Being able to make your child laugh will surely result in the best candid photo. If you have young children, tickling, playing peek-a-boo, or chasing them usually does the trick. If you can get them laughing, move fast to capture those candid moments because you never know when their emotions can switch to anger or sadness! Just let them be silly and wild. These always end up being the most loved photos anyway.
Plan ample time
I highly recommend that you plan a large chunk of time for photo sessions, especially if you are traveling somewhere for your photos. With kids, you need to account for temper tantrums, snack breaks, potty breaks, and possible outfit changes. Don’t try to cram this into a super short time period.
Don’t expect perfect poses
Of all the kids photography tips, this is one of the most important. Prior to your photo session, you’ve probably searched Pinterest and seen hundreds of seemingly perfect children portraits. It’s good to have photo ideas in your head, but with children you can’t expect perfect poses. Trust me, I’ve tried and it never turns out the way that you envision in your head. Don’t force a pose if your child is not cooperating; I’ve learned that only results in meltdowns!
Allowing a child to simply be who they are will give you a great photo in the end.
One of the most challenging things about photographing children is how quickly they move. This makes it difficult to capture the moment. Try to keep your shutter speed at 1/200th of a second, or even a little faster if your children are running around.
You’ll want to set up your camera to a setting that is easy to control and doesn’t require much change throughout the photography session. I recommend putting your camera into Aperture Priority mode. If you don’t have this mode, use portrait mode instead.
Use rule of thirds
Instead of positioning your child dead center, use the rule of thirds composition. It makes for much interesting composition!
In photography, the rule of thirds is a type of composition in which an image is divided evenly into thirds, both horizontally and vertically, and the subject of the image is placed at the intersection of those dividing lines, or along one of the lines itself.
Kids Photography Venue Ideas
Shooting children’s photography at the park is a good option for several reasons. The most obvious is that kids love parks! It’s a fun place for them to let loose and the perfect opportunity to capture beautiful candid photos. Try to plan your shoot early in the morning or later in the evening when the park may be less crowded. The natural light is also ideal at these times of day.
A beach photo shoot offers natural beauty and ample space for children to run around. Denim and white shirts are an easy clothing option that always photograph wonderfully at the beach. I also love colors at the beach! You can leave them in their swim suits and use sand toys, hats and sunglasses as props for that perfect beach photo.
Disneyland may not be the most obvious choice for a photo shoot. Think about it though, can you name a place where kids are happier than at Disney? You’ll get great children or family shots while enjoying a day at the park. Some of my favorite photos of my children are from days at Disney. Watching a parade, meeting characters, standing in line for rides, and enjoying ice cream. These are all ordinary yet unforgettable moments that are perfect to capture with your camera.
Here we’re simply waiting in line to ride Toy Story. Notice how happy my son is with his Cars hat!
Not all kids photography sessions have to take place outside of the home. Some of the most lovely and authentic photographs can be taken from inside your house. No travel time required, can I get an amen?
You have several options for backgrounds in your home. Your bedroom, the kitchen, a baby nursery, or a playroom are all amazing options for a children’s photoshoot. A major bonus of holding a photography shoot in your own home? If the children are having a difficult day full of meltdowns, just push pause and try again the next day.
I hope these kids photography tips gave you some clarity on planning your next photo shoot. With a little planning, not too much self-induced pressure, and a lot of silliness, I know your photo shoot will be a success! If you’re feeling nervous about doing it yourself, just get out there and try shooting those everyday moments. The only way to improve your photography is to practice, practice and practice.
Do you have a favorite place to photograph your children? Please let me know by commenting below!