How to get great pictures from your children

How many times do you find yourself trying to take a photo of your children and well let’s be honest, not really achieving what you wanted? They quite often run off, hide, groan with ‘not another’ or grimace until you finally give up and move on.


Cut the cheese - example of the grimace

YOU ARE NOT ON YOUR OWN. This is such a common theme with many parents and a skill which I have nurtured over the years. It’s sometimes the sole reason people choose a professional photographer – because they want beautiful images of their children but with the natural smiles. It’s simply very difficult to achieve.

Tips Photographing Children

Now, as much as I’d LOVE you to take me on holiday and be at lots of fun occasions – you are going to have to go it alone for a lot of the time. I only want you to get the very best from your family memories, whatever they may be.

I’ve worked with lots of children, from tots to teens. So, with that in mind, here are my top tips to get great pictures from your children.


  1. Cut the cheese. Promise me, you will never say ‘CHEESE’ to them ever again. Not only does it make strange expressions on the face it nearly 100% of the time results in the famous grimace.
  2. Who’s feeling awkward? Are you guilty of shouting directions? “Stand there”, “Put your arm round your sister”, “Stand still”. It’s a one-way street to awkward poses and moans and groans from the children. To get the very best from them, let them know you are going to take a few photographs in advance and that it means a lot to you. Get them involved, ask them where they think a good picture would be. Let them lead a little – you never know, you might find you have another budding photographer in the family.
  3. Chitter, Chatter – Always, always have a little chat. This is particularly important for older children as they become more self-conscious in front of the camera. It could be about their favourite PS4 games or what’s made them laugh at school. It guarantees natural smiles (even if it’s just for a split second!). Failing that recruit a friend to stand next to you and challenge them to a funny faces / dancing competition!
  4. Engage in play – This is probably the most successful tip when photographing children, particularly the younger ones. Let them play, become involved in an activity and then photograph them. These are often the most natural shots as they don’t really know they are being photographed. Being engaged in play are my favourite captures!Tips Photographing Children_Amanda Powell Photography
  5. Get on their level – See life through their eyes, from their perspective. Crouching down or laying on the floor always brings a really unique feel to an image.
  6. The great outdoors – Children are naturally more at ease outside. Try photographing on an overcast day or when the sun is low in the sky. What you want to avoid is harsh shadows on people.
  7. Speed Demons – Children of all ages are fast! This means you need to make sure you have a high shutter speed. Otherwise you will find your images are blurred. Before you take your shot, check your composition for distractions (i.e. lamp posts, cars, other people).
  8. Bright Eyes – To get those beautiful catch lights, you need to position them towards a light source. This source can be artificial, like a flash, or natural, like sunlight. This spark will help you to draw your viewer’s eyes, making them full of life and, well, sparkling!
  9. Practice – There is no doubt, the more you take – the more you will find. Just practice and you’ll find a hidden gem!
  10. Make the time – Don’t forget to photograph the everyday too. You know, the little things that you will want to remember later on down the road. Bedtime stories, bath times, playing with the family pet, or teddies at the breakfast table. Children don’t have to be perfectly dressed or looking at the camera to take a great photograph!

I hope these tips will help you – they don’t stay little for long! Enjoy

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