How to take great photos of your kids

You may or may not know, but I am a keen photographer, I studied photography at college and have done photography for over 16 years no – wow I feel old! I always get people asking me about how to take a good photo, well here are a few tips to capturing your kids!

Kids are gorgeous, naturally confident and energetic, but what makes them unique and fun also makes them difficult to capture.

Getting the perfect composition

You can take amazing photos of any subject using even a phone, the trick is getting the composition right.

Get down to their level

Kneel down and get to their eye level, you will see the world as they see it and be in a better position to capture this. Also it will help them feel at ease if you are at the same level as them. Photographing children should be about engagement and interaction, you are not just their to observer and capture the moment (although that is good) but to get them to feel comfortable, the best photos show off what is really special about a child, that smile, that twinkle in their eyes, that laugh, or that silly face that is completely unique to them.

You will not see that if you spend the whole time looking down at them, get down to their level and talk to them, make them laugh, get them to feel comfortable around you.

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Frame them

Start getting creative with your photography, look at ways to frame them, through a window, through a branch, through a crowd. These compositions are fun and quirky and often capture a candid moment, photos are often much more beautiful when they are not posed.

candid childhood photo

Make the ordinary extraordinary

Everything is exciting to a child, a bath, a puddle, an adventure in the woods, capture this imagination in your photos, don’t think you can’t get a fantastic photo when they are doing every day things, you can. You just have to find the fun yourself.

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A less than perfect shot could capture the perfect moment

Photos can be creative, they don’t have to be sharp or completely in focus, the very best photos can be a bit blurry but show a perfect moment that you will cherish forever.

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Give them space

Take the pressure off them and give them space, let them run free and explore, use a wide angle lens if you can to capture their surroundings and get the full picture

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Get closer

Don’t be afraid to get close and zoom in, this is an easy way to guarantee a nice shot!

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Find the reflection

Reflections can add so much to an image, where their is children their is usually water and puddles (especially in the UK) make use of the reflections, you may also capture something unique when they don’t realise you are in photographing them.

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Look for the light

Shadows and pockets of light make stunning photos, be aware of the light around you, changes in the light at different times of the day, light flares and shadows.

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Don’t strive for the perfect smile

One big mistake is trying to get children to smile, children are innocent and honest and fake smile is obvious in photos, get them to laugh, pull a funny face, talk to them and capture their natural expressions, if you can get them to relax you will get a smile but in the mean time go for a photo that captures who they are at this age, be it silly, funny, grumpy or a diva!

Have fun

If you are having fun, they will be having fun and you will get the best images, taking photos is not a task or a chore, it should be about capturing memories, a snapshot of who they are at that particular time.

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Can’t take a good photo without a professional camera?

People see me with my professional DSLR and think that this is why I get good photos, and yes it has a lot to do with it, but that is because I know how to use a professional camera, I understand aperture, ISO, shutter speed, white balance etc so I can get great images – but even then I could take 100 of a kid and only get 30 good pictures!

Capturing your kids on camera can be done on a decent camera phone, or a compact, in fact one of my favourite compact cameras is the Panasonic Lumix, I had one of the older versions of this camera and captured this self portrait of me and my now husband on holiday.

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Most compact cameras and entry level DSLR’s have a number of easy to use settings including manual if you want to start experimenting. They usually have a sports mode or action mode this will use a faster shutter speed to catch fast moving objects (and not much moves faster than a toddler you’re trying to take a nice photo of). It will evaluate the conditions to let the right amount of light in to use a fast shutter speed.

If in doubt use this setting when taking photos of kids.