How to Take Great Photos of Your Kids

We are in the age of technology. When something new, interesting, exciting, fun, etc. happens, we often want to share it with our friends and family – typically through social media.

When my twins were born it didn’t take long for me to become a bit of a momtographer (mom photographer). I would toss a blanket over a couch for a backdrop and click click! Then I would add some color to a black and white photo in Photoshop and voila!

My twins are nine now and as such, I have had roughly nine years of self-education. Being self-taught, I have learned everything at my own pace in my home trying fun experiments, practicing, watching YouTube, reading tutorials etc. I remember vividly my most important trial-and-errors and want to share some of those tips in this post!

The best part?  The improvement is instant! So many things can impact your photos, and they are simple things you can quickly implement. Paying attention to these few little things can improve your photos – whether you’re snapping a few quick photos on your cell phone, or learning on a DSLR.

Tip 1:  Angle/Perspective – Get Creative!
The first thing most people do when they want to take a photo is grab their camera, aim it at whatever it is they want to photograph, and click.  This certainly does the job, but there is almost always another way to make the photos more aesthetically pleasing and interesting.

By moving yourself, how you hold your camera, your subject, and/or trying something new you can make a photo have better and more interesting composition.

You can get down to your subject’s level (which is perhaps the best tip when photographing kids).  Photos taken from a kid’s level turn out better 95% of the time than standing up because then they will always be looking up at you if you’re standing:

How to Take Great Photos of Your Kids | Duluth Moms Blog(I was laying on the ground to get that second photo!).

You can also try a downwards angle and other interesting perspectives to get a unique perspective:How to Take Great Photos of Your Kids | Duluth Moms Blog

Sometimes you don’t have to move yourself at all, but can just angle the camera differently:How to Take Great Photos of Your Kids | Duluth Moms Blog

Don’t be afraid to play around:How to Take Great Photos of Your Kids | Duluth Moms Blog

Tip 2:  Watch the Background!
If you’re human and like every other mom, there’s almost always a toy or two (or a hundred) in the background. Maybe dishes on the table from lunch. Mail sitting on the bench. Entire backpacks dumped out etc. I always take a photo to capture the moment first and then if there’s time I will move anything in the background/foreground.How to Take Great Photos of Your Kids | Duluth Moms Blog
Tip 3:  Editing
A very simple way to improve your photos is to edit them!  Editing is very powerful! A great option is to use the Adobe Creative Cloud or [free] Gimp software.  If that sounds too intimidating, you could install a free and easy editing app.  The editing apps I use most are Snapseed, VSCO, PhotoDirector, and Instagram’s manual editor – there are countless others as well!

How to Take Great Photos of Your Kids | Duluth Moms BlogHow to Take Great Photos of Your Kids | Duluth Moms Blog
Tip 4:  Add Light
To get great photos you need great light.  By turning on some more lights or opening some curtains before you start clicking and you will get significantly better images!  The best spot to take photos indoors is next to a large window.
Next, watch how the light lands on your subject.  If the light is behind them, their face will be shadowed.  If the light is beside them, half of their face will be shadowed.  If the light is in front of them, their face will be evenly lit with catch lights in their eyes.How to Take Great Photos of Your Kids | Duluth Moms Blog

Tip 5:  Do A Once-Over
Before you take a planned photo, take a moment to look everything over and see if it’s how you want it.  The #1 thing that I try to do before taking a photo is wipe off everyone’s faces (I know you feel me on that!). Next I look at hair – are there any stray hairs going wild needing taming? Then I look at clothing – is someone’s shirt half-tucked, is there a stain etc. I consider little details such as are someone’s nails half painted – the kind of stuff that kind of bothers you after you’re looking at the photo later that you didn’t notice while you were taking photos.

Tip 6:  Capture the Moment
Even with all these tips the most important thing by far is capturing the moment.  If you miss that then none of these tips matter.  I always capture the moment first, and then I try to perfect it if I can.How to Take Great Photos of Your Kids | Duluth Moms BlogEven if there are countless little things you can do while taking a photo to improve its look, capturing the moment is by far the most important!

How to Take Great Photos of Your Kids | Duluth Moms BlogThis is one of my favorite photos even though it’s out of focus, blurry, the lighting isn’t great, it isn’t edited, there are background distractions, and no one is dressed up or anything, but it’s a candid real moment of my kids having fun together and I couldn’t care less about the technicalities of the photo!

Conclusion
Phew.  That was a lot of tips, I know, and most of it doesn’t come naturally either – we get used to picking up a camera and clicking without thinking much about the details, but once you become aware and start to practice them, it becomes more natural.

My advice? When possible, find good light, use a clear background, wipe down faces, do a once-over on the clothing, take some photos, try some interesting angles, and then edit. Capture the moment above everything else. Then share your moments with your family and your friends.

If you have any additional ideas and tips be sure to share them in the comments!

10 Responses to How to Take Great Photos of Your Kids

  1. Kristina May 17, 2017 at 4:39 pm #

    Thank you so much, Christine, for these tips! They are really helpful. I couldn’t agree more about all the piles of papers, toys, dirty dishes, etc. in the background. Some days I can’t get find an angle that isn’t messy – ha!

    • Christine Fisher
      Christine Fisher May 27, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

      Hi Kristina!

      I feel you on that sometimes no angle helps note! ha ha!

      Sometimes what’s in the background tells the story best and adds visual interest too. At least that’s what I tell myself 😉 ;).

      -Christine

  2. Rachel May 19, 2017 at 11:27 am #

    Thanks so much for this! We just bought a nicer camera and I’m excited to start learning about how to photograph moments, landscapes, and anything that is beautiful.

    Can you recommend any good youtube videos to get started with camera techniques, using the camera, etc.?

    • Christine
      Christine May 29, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

      That is so exciting about your camera!

      My first piece of advice is to work on replacing the kit lens with a nicer lens. The nifty fifty (50mm 1.8) is the cheapest nicer lens out there. It’s great, I used it for years! You will notice a big quality change with a different lens.

      This one YouTube video taught me how to shoot in Manual mode instead of Auto mode. I had to watch it several times haha, but it clicked. He does a great job explaining how it all works. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dt6AvJ7WZSI&t=6s

      As for learning basic tips, what I used to do was go to Digital Photography School’s website and binge read articles. When you read one article, there are related articles linked at the end so you can just keep clicking on articles that seem interesting and learn so much in one sitting! For example, I would read an article about composition, then click one about focal points, then one on Rule of Thirds, then one on framing, then one on straightening lines. It’s a great resource! https://digital-photography-school.com/start-here/. One more idea is to join a Facebook photography group and post your photos and ask for feedback too.

      If you have any other questions let me know, have fun!

  3. Jaclyn May 28, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

    Thank you so much for the tips! They are super helpful!

    Sometimes, when talking pictures of my kids, I forget to change my perspective. (And to wipe off their faces. Lol) Thank you so much for the reminder!

    • Christine
      Christine June 3, 2017 at 7:09 pm #

      I still forget sometimes!
      But the more you do it the easier it gets overall!

  4. Meghan May 28, 2017 at 4:01 pm #

    Oh my gosh such great tips!! And seriously, so simple I feel like a dummy for never thinking of it before… like sitting next to a big window. It makes perfect sense! And checking the area; I’m totally guilty of that (aren’t all moms lol) and then I’m mad later when I’m too embarrassed to share a picture I love otherwise. Thanks for the tips, I’m going to try and think of a pneumonic device so I remember quickly all the things to check!

    • Christine
      Christine June 3, 2017 at 7:07 pm #

      You aren’t! I really can’t believe how the tiniest things make the biggest difference!

  5. Monda May 28, 2017 at 7:44 pm #

    17 years ago I wish this blog was out for me and my son when he was little! Thank you for the helpful tops! Sharing with my daycare mom friends!!

    • Christine
      Christine June 3, 2017 at 7:06 pm #

      I’m glad you enjoy the post, they have each improved my photos drastically! Hopefully you can use some of the tips for other things!