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How To Photograph Children

Posted by Children Story Time admin, 9 minutes read

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How To Photograph Children: Interactive Story Changing Apps for Children


The key to childhood photoshoots is fun and excitement. Make sure your photoshoot is full of fun, games, and special locations for your child to relax and show genuine excitement in their photos. 

Childhood is a magical time and every parent wants to preserve it for the future. There’s no better way of doing this than by creating a beautiful photo album featuring your children for them to look back on down the road.  However, kids can be difficult to photograph. They tend to have short attention spans and are often extremely restless and fidgety during a photoshoot. Therefore, it’s essential that you plan your shoot around your kids and play to their strengths as much as you possibly can. It won’t be easy, but it’ll sure be worth it. 


Make The Shoot Fun and Playful

Children are fun-loving beings and would hate the idea of having to pose under studio lights for hours on end.  If you’re taking family photos, make sure your kids are sufficiently entertained. The photographer can do impressions, funny noises, and tell jokes to get the kids smiling. It’s also a good idea to have games on hand. This will create a fun, laid-back atmosphere that the kids will enjoy greatly. 


Go Outside and Explore

Most kids hate being stuck indoors all day. They can get bored and frustrated easily, so it’s advisable that you take the photo shoot outside and explore. The beach is a great location for taking photographs of your kids. Not only are beaches visually stunning, but they’re also popular with all age groups. However, make sure you have good weather conditions and plenty of sunscreen on-hand if you plan on going to the beach. 

An outside photoshoot is a great way to prevent boredom. You must, however, ensure you have plenty of light outside and stick to safe areas. 


Use The Child’s Favorite Toys

Children love their toys. A favorite toy is often a kid’s most prized possession and they can grow deeply attached to them over time. If your child displays unruly behavior, then bring a favorite toy along to the shoot. This will help contain their behavior and keep them entertained throughout. You can also take photos of your child and their toy to preserve the memory. As your child gets older, it will most likely abandon their toys and forget all about them. Therefore, taking photos of them with their favorite companions will create a time capsule for them to enjoy in the future. 


Prepare for a lot of movement

Child photoshoots are never as easy as they seem. No matter how much planning you do, how entertaining you try to make the shoot, or how many treats you have on hand, you never know how your subjects are going to behave. One thing you need to prepare for is movement. Children tend to hate idleness and most of them will not stay still for very long. Make sure you plan for this eventuality by moving your camera and keeping the photoshoot fluid and mobile. 


Avoid Motion Blur

Kids can move suddenly and unexpectedly and your shutter may not be able to keep up. This can easily result in blurry photos as the child moves during the photography process. To avoid this, make sure you have your shutter speed set correctly and try not to rely on your auto-focus. You should expect the child to move a lot during the session, so make sure you possess the skills to keep up. 


Follow the child’s lead

For the sake of your photo shoot (and perhaps your own sanity), you’ll need to put the ball in the child’s court and let them take the lead. Trying to force children into certain poses can result in tantrums and general frustration. This can derail a photoshoot and cost you valuable time and money.  Try to make the photoshoot as enjoyable as you possibly can. Make sure you have snacks, drinks, games, and toys on hand and take regular breaks between photographs. If the child starts making wacky faces or funny poses, go along with it. Photoshoots are supposed to capture fun, so encourage this behavior as much as possible. Do not stifle or ridicule the child if it starts having fun. 


Be Spontaneous

In twenty years’ time, your child wants to look back at baby photos that capture real life and real emotions. The only way photographers can achieve this is through spontaneity.  Capture happiness, excitement, and wonder as you see it. One of the advantages of going to a cherished location (such as a play park or beach) is that it’s much easier to photograph these emotions because the child is already in a happy mood from being there. Location-based photos also possess a much more spontaneous quality than studio ones. Just make sure you have adequate light outside. Nobody wants family photos that look like Victorian-era daguerreotypes. Have fun and push the boat out a little. Capture genuine emotions as they happen and try not to force emotion too much. Follow this philosophy and you’ll have family photos that last a lifetime. 


Great Places to Take Your Photoshoot

Now that you have a good understanding of how to capture fabulous photos of your kiddos, let’s take a quick look at some of the best places to go to capture your kids being their best selves.


Go on a Wild Adventure Through the Woods

Take your family for a hike through the woods or nature trails, then set up a small space for ideal photos. 

  • Lay a blanket down on the ground for a lovely picnic in the woods (National Teddy Bear Picnic Day is July 10th.) Have your children bring along their favorite stuffed bear and take pictures of them sharing a meal with their furry friends.
  • Find a stream and take photos of them splashing around, finding tiny critters such as salamanders and frogs, and capture true expressions of excitement and curiosity.
  • Capture intimate moments of your children holding hands as they walk down the trail, deep in conversation, not even noticing you’re holding the camera.


Take it to the Beach

While we already touched on how great the beach can be for pictures, here are a few different ideas to consider while spending the day in the sand.

  • Have sandcastle building competitions and take photos of your kids concentrating on their creations or capture the shock as the water pulls their castle away.
  • Set up a group water jump and snap a picture of your kids jumping up out of the water all at the same time.
  • Have your child lay in the sand and cover the lower half of their bodies turning their legs into a mermaid tail, sea serpent scales, etc.


Spend the Day at the Petting Zoo or on a Farm

Most kids love animals, especially ones they typically never get the chance to interact with. Hanging out at a petting zoo or farm for a day will give you plenty of photo ops, capturing your kids experiencing new things and the pure joy in their eyes. 

  • Take a quick shot of your child hand-feeding a cow, goat, or giraffe (if you are at the zoo). If you have siblings a few years apart, take a picture of one picking up the other to help them reach.
  • Sit your kids nicely on a stack of hay or straw and take photos of them resting their heads on each other’s shoulders, holding pumpkins in the fall, or even with a chicken sitting on their lap?
  • Prop your little ones on top of a tractor and take pictures of your future farmer pretending to steer their way through the fields of corn.


Let them Get Messy

If you are looking for a genuine smile on any kid’s face, all you have to do is allow them to get messy. Luckily for parents, there are tons of great ways to do this, while still having the opportunity to capture amazing pictures.

  • Grab some easels, canvas, and paint and let your child’s true artistic side come to life while you capture tons of great moments with them on film.
  • Fill up the water balloons and let your kids go wild. If you are a brave parent, you can even add some vibrant dyes to the water and put your kids in all white, letting them make your photoshoot colorful.
  • Take your photos on a rainy day. Take pictures of your kids twirling and splashing in the rain or puddle jumping after the showers have passed.


The best Natural Backgrounds for Great Photos of Your Kids

No matter who you ask, if they know anything about photography, they will tell you natural light is always the best option. Here are a few great locations to take kids’ pictures outdoors that will give you the perfect lighting and free props.

  • A railroad track
  • A sunflower field
  • A pumpkin patch
  • In a boat
  • Sitting on a swing
  • Coming down the slide
  • In a field of flowers
  • On a park bench
  • Sitting on a dock 
  • Eating an ice cream cone


Are you looking for great places to grab a few shots indoors? Here are some ideas you may not have considered.

  • Inside your church
  • In a museum
  • Sitting on a stairway
  • Inside a train station
  • At the aquarium
  • In an arcade
  • Inside a fire station
  • At a skating rink

(Remember, when shooting indoors, you will need to think ahead and pack for different types of lighting)


Photo Themes to Consider When Photographing Your Children

Having a fantastic background is great but having a unified theme in your photoshoot can really take your pictures to a whole new level.


Here are some classic, unique, and even downright weird photo themes to try with your children.

  • Flannel- The good old matching flannel shirts and jeans is an oldie but goodie. Through your kids in flannel shirts and take them outdoors for some country-themed pics.
  • Balloons- Kids love balloons no matter how old they are. Blow up a massive number of balloons and let the kids go crazy.
  • Butterflies- If you can snap photos fast, sit your kids down outdoors wearing matching outfits, and take pictures of them releasing butterflies.
  • Christmas- For fun Christmas photos take pictures of your kids dressed as an elf on the shelf hiding in different locations around the house, all tied up in Christmas lights, or if you have really little kids, put them inside unwrapped boxes with the torn paper all around and a bow on their head.
  • Black and White- No one said you had to keep your photos in their original form. Once you are done taking pictures for the day, explore all of the great black and white themes available.
  • Western-style- Grab some cowboy hats and cowboy boots and send your kids out to play in the backyard. 
  • Denim- Denim has become a huge favorite in the world of picture themes. Put your kids in jeans and denim jackets with white t-shirts and photograph them sitting on a bench or walking along a dirt trail.


Tips for Photographing Children

Here are some great tips to consider when photographing your kids that come from professionals who do it every day.

  • Adjust your aperture (the opening on your lens)
  • Turn on the continuous shooting feature
  • Use your child’s face as your central focal point
  • Turn on the shutter priority mode
  • Only go at it when you are in a good headspace
  • Keep helpers on hand
  • Don’t be afraid to bride them
  • Change your perspective (Take pics from the side, get low to the ground, find a higher elevation)


Final Thoughts

Children can be difficult to photograph but with enough planning and preparation, it’s easy to get them on your side and produce photos of them that they can keep forever.  Childhood can come and go so quickly, so it’s vital that parents have plenty of visual reminders of their little ones in their early years. No parent wants to live with the regret of seeing their child grow up and not having any photographed memories of this most innocent and wonderful stage of life. 


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Having trouble getting your kids to behave during a photoshoot? Here are some of the best ways to keep them entertained. 



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