Tips for Photographing Kids || The Authentic Portrait

I LOVE working with kids. They bring such light and energy to photo shoots. Sometimes it can be a little hard to figure out just how to harness that energy for good, so I’m going to share some of my tried and tested tricks!

1/2000 sec at f / 1.6, ISO 100

1/2000 sec at f / 1.6, ISO 100

First and foremost, be patient. 

Kids don't always listen immediately, and usually if they are doing funny things, they'll keep on doing them. They're unpredictable yet predictable. 

Be prepared for anything! 

Kids have the tendency to do weird goofy stuff out of nowhere. Expect the unexpected (sometimes the unexpected makes for great photo opportunities). 

1/2500 sec at f / 1.6, ISO 100

1/2500 sec at f / 1.6, ISO 100

Be prepared. 

Make sure your camera is set correctly so you're ready for the action before it even happens.

Always try to use the natural light. 

Even though it's constantly changing, using window light inside and sunlight outside will make your photos feel more real. I find flash to be a temporary addition that really doesn't belong most of the time. Keep it natural and instead, use the light you have to your advantage. (want to learn more about using light? There is a huge lighting section in the book: The Authentic Portrait: A Parent's Guide to Documenting Childhood, check it out HERE)

1/1250 sec at f / 1.6, ISO 100

1/1250 sec at f / 1.6, ISO 100

1/250 sec at f / 2.8, ISO 100

1/250 sec at f / 2.8, ISO 100

1/1000 sec at f / 2.5, ISO 100

1/1000 sec at f / 2.5, ISO 100

1/1600 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

1/1600 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

1/1250 sec at f / 2.5, ISO 100

1/1250 sec at f / 2.5, ISO 100

Make them laugh! 

Kids often feel intimidated by the camera, so it's very important to make them feel comfortable around you. Be a goofball!

Choose your focus mode carefully.

Avoid the too big aperture like f/1.8 or f/1.4 when your kids are moving all around. See more about aperture HERE.

Get down to their level.

When you're photographing little shrimps from above, they look smaller. Get down on their level to show how big they really are. (link to blog post on getting to kids level)

1/800 sec at f / 2.5, ISO 100

1/800 sec at f / 2.5, ISO 100

1/1600 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

1/1600 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

1/1000 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

1/1000 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

Don't try to force the photograph.

Kids do funny things all the time, sometimes when telling them what to do, they will do exactly the opposite. Instead, follow their lead. If you'd really like them to do something specific like smile, give them a prompt to do it rather than ordering them. They're more bound to smile when you say, "poopie" than when you say, "smile!" 

1/2000 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

1/2000 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

1/2500 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

1/2500 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

1/1600 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

1/1600 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

1/1000 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

1/1000 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

Be sneaky! 

Kids don't always have to know that you are taking pictures, let them play around while you photograph around them. A lot of times the small, everyday things that they do are the moments you want to remember.

1/400 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

1/400 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

1/320 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

1/320 sec at f / 1.8, ISO 100

What kinds of tricks do you have when you're photographing your kids?  

This is just one of the solid, easy to implement tips and tricks for photography that I talk about in The Authentic Portrait: A Parent’s guide to Documenting Childhood, an ebook perfect for anyone who want to learn the basics of photography and improve their photos without spending hours and hours taking classes. Find out more here!

Have you used these tips (or come up with your own tricks) to get great pictures of your kids? Share them with me over on Instagram in #TheAuthenticPortrait series, a series for learning and growing in photography.  Don’t forget to tag your photos with #TheAuthenticPortrait!