Whether you use a pocket camera, a phone, or a DSLR, taking great pictures of kids can be a challenge.


Let’s face it, kids are constantly moving and rarely do they want to stay still for a photo. And when they do, you get a smile that looks like they’ve just eaten something awful, but were told to be polite.


A few years ago when our second child was born I was picture crazy (as you can imagine). Every chance I got I was trying to pose them to get great photos of them together, but guess what? None of them turned out the way I wanted. They looked posed and my 2 year old quickly learned to avoid my camera. I learned a few tricks that helped me get the photos I wanted without driving my kids crazy or getting disappointing photographs.


These ten secrets will have you taking great pictures of kids in no time. Capturing them the way you want to remember them and enjoying the process.


Take your camera everywhere (this can be your phone as well)

The more you have your camera out, the more comfortable you will be and the more comfortable your kids will be. Most of your best pictures will come from the little moments, so be ready for them by having your camera accessible all the time.


Capture Personality

If all of your photos are posed or staged, you will not enjoy looking back at them. The reason we take pictures is to freeze a moment in time. Try to capture your child’s personality in the photos you take. Read these tips on how to do this. Look for opportunities to photograph your child while he is doing something he loves.


Take candid photos

Your photos do not need to be posed and will often turn out better if you just take photos of your kids as they do their regular thing.


Don’t tell them to smile 

Every time you say, “smile”, you will get a picture that either looks forced or has one of those funny little kid smiles (keep a few of those). Instead of saying smile, tell them to laugh, look at a sibling, or give them something funny to think about. You might say, “remember last night at the dinner table when…” Rather than saying smile, try to get a genuine smile by engaging with your child.


Let them play 

Take pictures while they play and you are sure to get some great photos. At home, at the park, or wherever you are, take photos while your child is busy. I like to make it a point to take a picture of my children playing with their favorite toys a few times a year. It is fun to look back and see what they loved and how they played.


Keep shooting in between poses 

My favorite pictures are always the ones I get in between trying to get my family to pose. The pictures when they are looking at each other or dancing or telling me they are sick of me taking pictures.


Take photos from behind 

Taking pictures from behind eliminates the difficulty if getting a good smile and gives you a great photograph. Think about taking a photo of your child walking ahead of you, looking at something, holding hands with a family member, sitting with a favorite stuffed animal, or any other scene you would like to remember. Pictures from behind give a new perspective and are often just as precious as from the front.


Ask them to look at something

Distract your child by asking him to look at something and you will most likely get a more genuine expression. Plus, grab a couple profile shots. These are always precious as your child grows. Look for something right behind you and instead of telling your child to look at you, tell him to look past you. Their eyes will still be looking towards the camera, but the expression will turn out more relaxed.


Stop using auto-mode

If you have a camera that allows it, start using manual mode to take your photos. You will be amazed with the difference this can make. Even if you do not have a DSLR, learning about how these settings work can greatly improve your photography. If you have no idea where to start, this free 5 day e-course will teach you everything you need to know to start taking amazing photos in manual mode.


How to take better photos


Capture everyday moments

Most people take their cameras out during special events or holidays, but most of the memories you are making as a family happen every other day of the year. Start taking pictures during your regular life events, like cooking together, meal times, bath time, playing outside, nap time, or any other time of day. Here’s a list of photos I take on a regular basis to keep track of my kids’ growth.


Give some of these tricks a try and see the difference it makes in your photos. Remember, the memories you will want to remember are the messy memories of your life, not just the pretty posed pictures you get with family photos. Get your camera out often and start capturing your life. Sign up for my mailing list to get more photography tips and simple parenting resources.


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how to take better photos