9 Tips Taking Great Photos of Your Kids

9 Tips Taking Great Photos of Your Kids

Ottawa Photographer

Summer is in full force, so most people are busy having fun.  As a parent, I love to have beautiful photos of my daughter.  I’m sure all parents want beautiful photos of their children.  However, many parents aren’t savvy with the technical part of taking nice photos.  I’m here to give you 9 tips taking great photos of your kids.

To be as real as possible, I only used photos I’ve taken of my own child.  I also used photos from different ages and times of year.  No matter the age of your child or the season, you can create great photos of them.


1)  Lighting:  Probably the most important tip is lighting. If used correctly, natural light can look stunning. You can shoot using natural light outside as well as inside. If indoors, you can use a window light. Sheer curtains work wonders to diffuse harsh sunlight. When shooting outdoors, avoid shooting when the light is harshest. Between 10:00 am-3:00 pm the light has a blue cast and it’s the most overhead. With the light being so high above, your kids will squint or they can get those dreaded dark circles where there should be eyes. Try to shoot either in the morning or late afternoon. I understand that that can be tricky if you have little ones.  Instead, make sure your kids are in the shade. Shade offers a diffused lighting situation.


2)  Aperture:  I’m including aperture, but I know that not everyone can choose the settings on their camera–especially with a point-and-shoot. Aperture in a nutshell is this: the smaller the aperture number (ie. f/2.8) the more bokeh you’ll get. Bokeh is when the background is out-of-focus. (Most portrait photographers shoot to achieve out of focus backgrounds because it point the eye towards the person in the photo.)

Likewise, the higher the aperture number (ie. f/22) the more in focus your background will be. If you’re able to change the apertures on your camera, I highly suggest that you go for a blurred background in order to make your kids stand out more in the photos.


This is shot at f/1.8 at 1/800 sec.

3)  Shutter Speed:  When taking photos of your kids moving around, use a fast shutter speed. If you can’t manually choose your shutter speed, select the sports scene mode on your camera. Likewise, if you’re able to choose the shutter speed, shoot no slower than 1/250 sec to avoid camera shake. If your kids are running around, shoot at a faster shutter speed (1/500 sec or higher.)


These photos are shot at f/2.0 at 1/1250 sec.

4) ISO:  The higher the ISO number, the less light is required to properly expose a photo. If it’s sunny, shoot at the lowest ISO, (100 or 200). If shooting indoors, a higher ISO works better with low light (800). You may also need to shoot at a slower shutter speed to compensate for less light.

The higher the ISO number, the more noticeable the grain will be. Thus, shoot with the smallest ISO possible. I shoot at ISO 200 as much as I can–even if it’s in the shade or the late afternoon. I compensate by opening up my aperture wider (f/1.8, f/2 or f/4) so that my lens receives more light.

If you’re still confused about ISO, Digital Photography School explains it well.


Notice the grain in the photos, with more being on the photo shot at ISO 4000.

5)  Camera Level:  Get down to the level of your kids! If you have a baby or toddler, sit down on the ground. You can even lie down on the ground to get down to their level. For small children sit or squat down.


6)  Busy Bees:  If you want natural smiles, get them busy doing something fun. A great place for this would be at a park. At home, get your kids to blow bubbles, play with their toys, in the pool or with each other.


7)  Let them be silly:  Kids will be kids. They love to be goofy at times. Embrace it. Take photos of them being silly. Childhood is so short, so go with the flow. If you let them be silly, your chances of getting genuine smiles will be MUCH higher. Trust me.


8)  Lifestyle:  You don’t have to photograph your kids in formal poses. They also don’t have to look at the camera and say “cheese”. Instead, try a lifestyle approach. Photograph them busy doing something fun.

When your kids are older they’ll cherish these photos. The photos will help them to reminisce about the good ol’ days.


9)  Have Fun:  Have fun taking photos of your kids. You’ll be creating lasting memories for you and your kids to cherish.  🙂


I hope these tips will help you take better photos of your kids. Children grow up so fast, so it’s so important to capture some of those memories.


If you’re looking for a portrait photographer, I would love to hear from you. I shoot, child and baby portraits as well as family photos. Contact me today. Check out my social media:

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