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15 Tips on Taking Better Photos of Your Kids

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It’s a beautiful day, and your kids want to go outside and play. You have a camera in hand, but you’re not sure how to get great photos of them. 

baby and dog outside with clouds in the background

As a parent, it’s important to capture your child’s moments and milestones – after all, they grow up too fast! But photographing children isn’t always as easy as it seems. 

This blog post will provide 15 tips on taking better photos of your children that you can be proud of!

Tips on Taking Better Photos of your Kids

baby in pink and gold room

Tip #01: Find good natural light

When possible, try to use natural light instead of artificial light that comes from light bulbs or overhead lights. The sun will provide very good light for your photos. 

baby playing in sand

You’ll most likely get the best lighting during the golden hour which occurs about an hour after sunrise and an hour or so before sunset. 

Shooting during mid-day when the sun is up high may cast harsh shadows on your main subject. If you must take photos during the day outdoors try to find some shade. 

baby girl playing with unicorn rocking horse

If you are inside, try to have your child close to a big window. Make sure your child’s face is facing the window as this will create catchlights in their eyes and make them sparkle.

child in yellow dress

It is worth noting that you can capture some beautiful images by having the light behind your child in the photo. You can expose for the subject and get that beautiful backlight image or you can expose for the background and create a silhouette. 


Silhouettes are beautiful and mysterious in my opinion and help tell stories without necessarily showing your child’s face. 


Indoor lights are usually very yellow and will make your photos look dull. If you have to use indoor lights, try to use a white balance setting on your camera that will help to correct the color.


Using white balance to correct the color of your photos

When you take photos of your kids, the colors might not always be accurate. This is because digital cameras have a tendency to adjust the colors in photos based on the surrounding light. 

To ensure that your photos are accurately colored, use the white balance adjustment. White balance is a camera setting that adjusts the color temperature of an image so that it looks more natural. 

baby girl playing with wooden blocks

There are three typically different white balance settings: automatic, daylight, and tungsten. 

Automatic will usually work best for most situations, but you may need to switch to daylight or tungsten if the photo doesn’t look right. 

baby girl in santa hat

To change the white balance setting on your camera, refer to your camera’s instruction manual. Once you’ve corrected the color in your photos, they’ll look more natural and accurate.

Tip #02: Play with different angles

baby girl playing with mickey mouse clubhouse toy

Get down to your child’s level

Get down on the ground and take photos from their perspective. This will give your photos a more personal feel, it’s more likely to exhibit a feeling of human connection and make your child the star of the photo. 

baby girl on the beach

Shoot from the ground up

Try getting low to the ground and shooting upwards. You can get some unique shots by doing this as not many people view things from this angle. 

child on a pink scooter outside with clouds in the background

One of my favorite times to photograph my daughter from a low angle is when I’m able to capture the sky. 

When shooting up, look for a place to rest your camera on. It’s an easy way to keep the camera still and not get blurry photos from shaking too much.

baby and dog next to a christmas tree photographed from above

Photograph your child from above

I especially love this angle for babies and young children. You may be able to capture some natural shots of your children from above while they are laying down or even sleeping. 

baby girl in pink sweater laying on the ground photographed from above

Tip #03: Use props

Props can be really fun and add an extra element to your child’s photo. They can also be used as a storytelling device to capture some candid shots. 

baby girl playing in the pool with a watering can

Some ideas for props are toys, flowers, hats, scarves, balloons, pets, books, play makeup, or musical instruments. 

If you’re going to use props, keep it simple and limit yourself to one or two items. Too many props in a photo will only clutter it up and make it harder to see your child. 

baby girl playing with toys in her room

When choosing a prop, think about what it represents and try to capture that in your photo. For example, if you have a book prop, think about having your child read the book in the photo. 

If you have kids that are young or babies, consider getting some toys so they can play with them. There is nothing more adorable than a baby playing peek-a-boo around a stuffed animal!

Tip #04: Get close!

closeup of child eating a cookie

Getting closer to the action will make a photo more engaging.  When taking photos of your kids, don’t be afraid to get close and fill the frame with your child. This will help to eliminate any distractions in the background and make your child the focal point of the photo.

If you have a zoom lens, don’t be afraid to use it! Get in close for some intimate shots.

closeup of child in front of a christmas tree

When I photograph children I like to step back and give them some space until they get comfortable. I have captured some amazing candid photos of my daughter from afar when she didn’t even know I was taking pictures of her. 

Don’t be afraid to crop

child's hands painting

You don’t have to capture your child’s whole body to tell a story. Don’t be afraid to crop out their legs, torso, or even their head. Focus on their little hands and what they are doing like I did in this photo of my daughter painting. 

child painting

I love making photo books of my daughter and I enjoy adding images like these that help tell a story. 

Tip #05: Focus on the eyes

baby girl outside in unicorn jacket

When taking a portrait of your kids, it’s important to focus on their eyes. This will help make the photo more engaging and will draw the viewer’s eye to your child’s face. 

If your camera has a manual focus setting, try using it for better control over where you want the focal point to be. If you’re not comfortable with using manual focus, most cameras have an automatic focus setting that will work just fine. 

child in white chair inside

Tip #06: Use simple backgrounds

In general, you want to avoid having too much background in your photos. When there are too many distractions in the photo, it can be hard to focus on your child. Try to simplify the background by removing any unnecessary objects or people from the scene.  

child with balloon in front of a simple concrete wall

If you’re taking photos outdoors, try to use a natural background like trees, grass, or a simple wall. If you’re indoors, try to have your child in an uncluttered space close to a window. 

child in yellow sweater in front of a plain wall

Tip #07: Take lots of photos!

The best way to get better at photography is to practice. The more photos you take, the better you’ll get at it and the better your chances of capturing a great photo. 

child outside with cloudy skies in the background

When photographing children, it’s important to be patient and take your time. Kids can be unpredictable and will likely move around a lot. Don’t worry if you don’t get the perfect shot on the first try – keep trying until you get something that you’re happy with. 

Tip #08: Shoot in bursts

When taking photos of kids, it’s helpful to take several shots in quick succession. This way you’re more likely to get at least one good shot. Kids are constantly moving and rarely stay still for very long! 

child on a swing outside

If you have a DSLR camera, try using the burst mode setting. This will allow your camera to take multiple photos in rapid succession. If you have an iPhone or iPad, use the Burst Photo feature.

I do this a lot with my daughter. I go through all the photos I took once we are home and pick a few photos that stand out. 

Tip #09: The best camera is the one you have with you

You can invest in the best and most expensive camera equipment out there but it’s no good to you unless you have it with you when you need it to capture that special moment. 

child sitting on concrete stairs outside

If you don’t have a camera with you at all times, use your smart device like an iPhone or Android phone instead of missing the shot altogether. 

Mobile phones have amazing cameras these days and sometimes it’s easier to get “the shot” with an iPhone than a fancy camera. 

As a professional photographer, I carried my camera to take photos of my daughter for the first couple of years of her life. However, the majority of my photos of her during the last couple of years have been with my iPhone, especially when we are away from home. 

child in crib with pink balloons

I now only bring my camera for special occasions but capture everyday candid moments with my iPhone. 

What is candid photography?

Candid photography is a type of photography where the photographer tries to capture the natural expressions and interactions of people in an unposed manner. 

child and dog in front of a christmas tree

This style of photography can be used to great effect when photographing children, as their candid moments are often the most memorable. 

I absolutely love capturing candid shots of my daughter as they are usually the most authentic moments of my child’s life. 


Tip #10: Avoid saying cheese while photographing children

Asking children to say cheese usually ends in awkward poses and fake smiles. Instead, talk to them, tell them jokes and things that will make them naturally smile and laugh. 

child smiling on unicorn rocking horse

Kids love seeing adults do funny things. Have fun with it and be silly. Once they are smiling grab a quick shot.

Tip #11: Be patient

Don’t rush the shot. Take your time and let things happen naturally. 

Sometimes I will set up an environment for my daughter to play in, with her toys out all over the place, then just sit back on a chair or couch or lay down nearby, and take photos of her as she plays. 

child playing pretend tea party

When I photograph children I know I’m almost always guaranteed to get better photos and natural shots of them if I sit back and wait for the moment rather than trying to force the moment. 

Tip #12: Let your child be the photographer

Kids love being just like mommy. My daughter has seen me hold my camera up to my face ever since she was born. She loves when I let her take photos with it. 

child playing with camera

I even got her a kid’s camera so that she can take photos of her own. I feel like this makes her more comfortable with me having a camera in my hand all the time. It also results in me being able to take better photos of her since she’s more relaxed with the “big camera” around.

Some kids may behave differently when they see you trying to take a photo of them but if you let them be the photographer first it will most likely help them relax. 

Tip #13: Use Apps To Enhance Your Photos

baby and dog outside

Once you have finished taking photos of your kids you have many options to make your images even better by using editing apps. 

The right editing is capable of taking your images to the next level. An important thing to remember when using apps though is that editing an image won’t make it perfect. 

Ensure that your original image is a good photo to start with, not too bright or dark and not blurry. 

baby playing peekaboo behind the door

App Store offers many photo editing applications for iOS devices. The area might appear a little like a minefield, but some of the best free editing apps include Adobe Lightroom, Snapseed, and Photoshop Express.

Tip #14: Have fun!

Most importantly, have FUN while taking photos of your kids! The best photos usually come when you are enjoying yourself and not taking things too seriously. 

baby on the beach between two big palm trees

Now that you’re armed with these tried and true tips for photographing kids, go out and capture some amazing photos of your children! And don’t forget to share them with us on Instagram and Facebook!

We love to see them! 

dad throwing baby up in the air

Tip #15: Hire a professional photographer

If taking photos of your kids just isn’t working out as you imagined, consider hiring a pro. While you finally have someone else behind the camera, make sure to get in for a few photos with your child. In my opinion, it’s well worth the investment for the memories you’ll cherish forever.

mom and daughter kissing in the street

If you have any other tips, feel free to leave them in the comments below! We would love to hear from you! 🙂

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About the author: Vanja is a professional wedding and portrait photographer, living and working in Fort Worth, TX. You may find more of her professional work and contact her through her website by clicking here.