Updated: Mar 24
Sometimes taking great photos of your kiddos can be challenging! I get it! As a mama of four little ones, life is busy and finding moments to stop and capture what is going on can seem almost impossible.
When you do have a moment to photograph your children you may also be at a loss for how to capture frame-worthy images that you are proud of. Below you will find my best tips for how to improve the everyday images you take of your children- whether it is with a DSLR camera or your iPhone.
1. Lighting is #1
Choosing your lighting is the first step to any great photograph. Find the best light source and use it to your advantage. If you're outside, shoot in the morning or evening when the light is softer. If you're inside, try to find a window with natural light and face them TOWARD the light instead of having their backs to the light (That way the light is actually doing what it is supposed to do).
If you are outdoors the best time to take photos is an hour before sunset or right as the sun is setting. However, if you can’t choose the time to take photos and you have to work with your existing light, one important thing to remember is to have them face their shadow if the sun is harsh. By having them position themselves toward their shadow, the sun will be directly behind them and allow you to have even light on their faces and avoid all the squinting.
Have you ever noticed a little glimmer in your child’s eye? This is called catch lighting. The way to achieve this in photographs is to make sure they are facing a light source (the sun, a lamp, etc.). By turning their faces toward the light you are able to catch the glimmer in their eye and make them look magical!
Some of the best photos are the ones where children are in their own element. Are they snuggling on the couch? Grab a quick photo. Are they reading a book? Grab a quick photo. Are they talking to their dolls? Grab a quick photo. These are the photos that tell the story of how amazing your children are. Take photos while they're playing, jumping, getting dressed or fighting with siblings. The best photographs of kids aren't posed or staged perfectly—they capture their essence. Quickly snap a candid when you see something special happening. They are the ones you will look back at and want to frame all over your home!
Don’t be afraid to let them get a little messy. Jump in some rain puddles or eat an ice cream cone; These are the moments where they are being truly themselves. Chances are they may end up being your favorite photographs ever!
3. See the world through their eyes
Make sure that you are not always taking photos of the tops of their heads. Get on their level. See the world as they are seeing it. Catch the glimmer in their eye and all of their sweet facial features! You'll capture the world from their unique perspective and give your photo some extra personality.
This one was a game changer for me. It may seem like an obvious concept, but keep your camera in a reachable location. Do your children play in the living room a lot? Keep your camera on a bookshelf nearby. Having your camera handy is the first step to actively using it and documenting your days.
Be aware of the background in your photographs. Sometimes chaos adds to the photo (a messy room with toys everywhere tells a story). Sometimes a photo is enhanced by drawing attention to the subject (your child) alone. Are they sitting on the floor playing, and a pile of laundry is in the background? Push it out of the way… no one is judging you. If you are looking for a classic portrait approach to document a milestone (first tooth lost, sitting up independently, etc.) find a space with a solid color background. This will help draw attention to your child and create a simple look to remember the milestone by.
Capture the beauty around them. Are you on a hike or at the beach? Use your scenery to add to the beauty in the photograph. Is there a rainbow outside? Grab your camera and little ones and capture it! Fresh snowfall on the ground? Grab the sled (or Tupperware lid if you live in Georgia) and your camera and photograph your children playing in the snow.
5. Capture Emotion
Whether it is laughter from a tickle fight or a post temper-tantrum toddler side-eye, emotion is an element that makes a great photograph. Some of my favorite photos of my children are the ones of them laughing. Each time I walk by a particular photo of my boys I can hear their laughter just by looking at it.
Want an easy tip on my favorite way to capture laughter? Lay your kids on the bed belly up shoulder to shoulder. Stand above them so that you are shooting down on their faces. Give the bed a little jiggle or bounce, or tickle their bellies with your toes…. works every time!
6. Take photos of them doing things they love!
Are they into dancing around the house on their tippy-toes? Soccer? Singing Moana? Photograph it!
7. Get in the photographs
This is one I know most parents try to avoid. But let’s face it… part of your child’s everyday life is YOU, so why shouldn't you be in the photographs? Take turns with your spouse with the camera. Set up a tripod and a remote and embrace the chaos a little. Family photographs shouldn’t be reserved for only once a year. It’s time to start jumping in the photos WITH your children.
Hello Jude Photography is a North Georgia Newborn Photographer specializing in luxury family, maternity, newborn, and baby photography. I believe in the beauty of simplicity and the value of tangible heirlooms that you can pass down from generation to generation.
Bailey serves clients in the North Georgia region including Habersham County, Hall County, White County and beyond. Our natural light studio is located in Clarkesville, Georgia.