Children’s Photography - Tips for taking great pictures of Children

Seven tips for making children's photography a rewarding experience.
Children’s photography can either be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience or a difficult and challenging one.  Here are seven tips to achieving the former and avoiding the latter. 

1)      Choose a proper setting.  One of the more recent trends in children’s photography is using a natural setting rather than a studio setting.  A park, beach or mountain setting not only provides a better backdrop but will make it more fun for the child.  To the child, going to the studio may feel a little like going to the dentist’s office.  Of course a studio provides for a more controlled environment, but in a natural setting you have a better chance of capturing the child smiling on their own.  Let them play and explore the world around them.  This will provide for some great candid photos rather than posed ones.  Of course if you are using a studio setting there are still several things you can do to make your pictures amazing.

2)      Get to know the child.  Successful children’s photography is about getting the child to work with you, not forcing them.  To do this they need to like you and trust you.  Although there are exceptions, most children would rather do a thousand other things than get their picture taken.  They need to see that the experience is going to be better than they had first though and that you are not the dentist.  Talk to them.  Ask them how old they are, ask about their school, ask about their favorite things to do in the summer.  What you learn from the child can help you as you start to take pictures.  For example, if the child is small you may want to ask what their favorite animal is and then use that animals sound to grab their attention when they start to lose interest.  Children establish relationships much faster than adults.  With only a few words you can build a relationship with a child that will help them trust you.  Keep the conversation going and interesting as you start to take pictures. 

3)      Let them choose a pose.  This is especially important when the session is first starting.  Let them sit, stand, look at the camera any way they want and snap a few pictures.  Maybe the pose is a good one, maybe it isn’t, but let them pick a pose or two at the start.  After they have done that they will typically be much more willing to let you have a turn telling them how to sit or stand.  If they start to become frustrated, let them pick a pose again to loosen them up and then go back you instructing them.  Children’s photography takes patience and that sometimes means yielding a little control.

4)      Make it fun.  Children’s photography is a different animal, and needs to be fun for the child.  This is much easier in an outdoor setting but can work in a studio as well.  This also ties into the previous point of letting them choose a pose.  Maybe they want to stand on their head, maybe they want to have a picture of them jumping in the air.  Whatever loosens them up and gets them to smile. 

5)      Go to their level.  Don’t tower over small children.  Stoop down and talk to them.  Let them see and talk to you at eye level.  This also applies to how you talk to them.  Talk to children in a fun tone and more like a friend would talk to them rather than an authority figure.

6)      Use props.  Stuffed animals, squeaky stuffed animals, feather dusters, noise makers.  These are all essential in grabbing and holding the attention of a small child.  The smaller the child, the more important it is to have a good inventory of props at your disposal. 

7)      Respect the child.  Let them guide the session.  If they are hungry it isn’t going to workFeature Articles, if they are tired it isn’t going to work.  The smaller they are the more difficult it is going to be to force them.  Don’t try until they are ready.  Children’s photography is about getting great pictures of children and that happens most easily when they are working with you instead of against you.

Article Tags: Childrens Photography
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For more information about children's photography visit Mary Kim Photography at

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