How to Photograph your kids | Camera Tips for Parents

Most of you know already that apart from being a mama, I am also a full time photographer.

I’ve had a few emails recently asking how I get crisp clean shots of Ruby ALL the time.
Well guys, heres the truth….
I don’t.  Yep, thats right, I don’t.
I take grainy shots, I get blurred faces, I get grumpy faces, messy faces,

jeez sometimes I dont even get her face, just the back of the head as she runs from me shouting ‘no no no no mama‘.  Sure the back of her head is pretty but it’s not what people want to see.

When I am at work, the children aren’t too familiar with me, so they are happy to play along for an hour sometimes two.  It’s fun and its someone new who sings songs and plays hide & seek with them.
And asks them a million questions.

Ruby, well she was happy to play along for the first week of her 365 then she soon became bored.
Great!  Here’s mama with that camera again!  I wish I could have a poop in peace.

She runs off in the middle of a shot, she runs to the camera and kisses it which results in nothing but a blurred eye or lip.  She’ll sit there and cry if I pop her somewhere lovely just for a second.  Or she’ll pull a face no one really wants to see.

Don’t believe me?  I have proof… (She’ll thank me for these when she is older).

So, I thought I’d give out a few tips on how to photograph your own children.

1.  Being patient.  Don’t ‘set up’ the shot.  If it’s there, take it, if it’s not, it’ll come.
Don’t disturb them, listen to them playing and being creative all on their own.
I always have my camera to hand, which brings me to point number 2.
2.  Take your camera as many places as you can & don’t be shy to use it.
If you want the shot of them in the waiting room at the doctors, take it. (Don’t be too shy to ask).
I don’t just take my camera to the park, oh no!  I’ve snapped Ruby at the doctors, Ikea, the vets, the dentist, the supermarket, in baskets at art shops, tattoo parlours… You can see those in her 365 here.
Yes people might look at you like a loon taking images of your kids in a shopping trolly but if you want the shot, it’s yours.
(Don’t forget to charge the battery!)
3.  Change your perspective. Get down to their level.  The world is a totally different place from down there.  I’m often found rolling around on my belly to get the shot I want.  Yes I’m am aware it’s Asda.
Don’t forget to shoot up high!  You’ll want shots to remember just how tiny they were holding your hand..
4.  Turn off your flash.  Good natural lighting is really important.
I can’t stress how important this point is, and if I hadn’t arranged my images already I’d move it to point number 1.
I’m a natural light photographer so this is key.  If you can, make sure they are facing a window, the eyes will be sharp and ‘pop’.  The more natural light the better.  If you can, head outside!
5.  Love every image you take.  As I said before, they might not be perfect, they might not be amazing, but it’s your child.  You don’t have to have a big fancy camera.  Some of my favourite images I have of Ruby I took on my iPhone 3G & edited with the Instagram app.
Including this one… It’s in my top 5 favourite images of her!
If they are feeling cheeky that day snap it…
If they are sad… thats right, snap it!
Give them a prop, be creative.  I know in point 1 I said not to ‘set up’ an image, but adding props always makes it more fun and it’s not reeeally setting it up.
 Even a simple necklace, glass of milk or my favourite…. a tea cup!
6. A simple black and white conversion can make an image perfect… Black and whit images are by far my favourite.
7.  Probably the most important…
Don’t forget to be IN the shot!  I am always 90% behind the camera, but sometimes with the helping hand of my husband, a timer with my camera balancing on a pile of books or a helpful friend you can get some lovely family shots.  Be natural, be yourself and most important… Have fun!
They might not look like much, but when you have a look back at these in a few years I’ll bet you wish you had taken more!
I hope I’ve helped!  Do you have any tips that I’ve left out?
Zoe xo


  1. Reply


    January 19, 2012

    What a great post! Thanks, this is really going to help me with my picture taking! My Lincoln is a rum little 2 year old who loves exploring so I have many pictures of the back of his head and that's on a good day! 😉
    Putting music on normally helps but I guess as always with little ones, it's a case of trial and error!!

  2. Reply

    Beth @plasticrosaries

    January 19, 2012

    Your out takes are about 20,000 times better than any photo that's ever 'made the grade' in my collection haha! Kudos x

  3. Reply

    The mum of all trades

    January 26, 2012

    you've left out having a very photogenic model! she is a wee dote, just gorgeous. I love the picture of you both on the merrygoround, I would have to frame that one!

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