As a professional photographer in Bend Oregon I’m constantly asked for advice on how to take photos of kiddos. The category “kiddos” is distinct from newborn and older children and ranges from the age of 1 to about 5 years of age. This article is aimed towards the average mom or dad who doesn’t have a fortune invested in camera gear!
Obviously the subject is your child. Don’t be distracted by things going on around your child. Make your child the focus of the picture, not the sunset behind them.
A trick for making sure your kiddo is the center of attention in your photo is to switch your camera into Aperture Priority mode. This will get you more depth of field. Depth of field simply means that the subject of your photo will be in focus and the background will be fuzzy. Make sure when in Aperture Priority mode you have the lowest F-Stop available. This often sets apart an amateur from a professional. If your camera doesn’t have aperture priority mode – it might have a ‘portrait’ mode that will assist with those nice fuzzy backgrounds.
Finally, get down on their level. I often lie down on the ground to get the shot. Make the camera level with their eyes or even slightly below – do this and you’ll get much more intimate shots.
Although backgrounds can give context they can also be distracting. The obvious solution for distractions is to physically remove the distraction if possible. If this is not possible, try moving the angle of the photo – sometimes this will remove the distraction from the frame. You can also try moving closer to your child. Remember, too much clutter can take away from the subject matter of your photo. The best photos are simple and clean.
Unless you have lots of time and access to editing software, make sure your child is tidy. Wipe those noses, comb the hair, look for spots on clothing etc.
Make it natural and candid
Catch your kiddos while they’re doing something. Your kiddo lives in a world filled with the joy of discovery and make-believe. This is what you want to capture. Choose places where your kids have fun, where you can show them in their natural playful environment.
If they’re in the stage of saying “cheese” with the phony smile, distract them with the following tricks:
- You know them better than anyone – what are their favorite things? Have a discussion with them while taking the photos. This works every time!
- Another trick is to ask them “not” to smile, or play “hide and seek.” The key is distraction!
- Showing kids photos after you’ve taken them also lets them be involved and less anxious about the picture taking. The more relaxed they are the better.
- Play “peek-a-Boo!”
I’ve outlined just a few key points in taking successful kiddo photos. Obviously, photographers have many tricks to making a shoot productive and successful. If you have tricks you would like to share, please reply to this article at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Facebook Page. We will make sure our readers receive your advice!
This shot was taken in the middle of a conversation between the photographer and the kiddo. Notice the engaged eye contact. This is also a great example of depth of field. Thanks to Lisa Armstrong From TumbleweedPhotographyStudio.com for providing this great article!
Conditions: Cloudy with sun peeking through.
Exposure: 1/125 sec; f/2.8; ISO 100.
Camera: Canon EOS 7D.