Kids & Company Blog

5 Ways to Take Better Photos of Your Kids

Article was written by Lucy Roberts exclusively for kidsandcompany.com.

Family of three in the kitchen taking a photoParents always want more quality photos of their kids. But a lot of the time it can be hard to capture the perfect shots, and in recent times this has only become a bigger issue. Granted, people have faced far bigger problems of late, and we don’t mean to suggest photography is on a level with other issues. But with schools, care facilities, and even photography studios having been closed, some of those photos parents come to expect just aren’t materializing.

All this really means though, if you’re a parent for whom this is a concern, is that you need to figure out how to take better photos of your kids on your own! This can be easier said than done, particularly with younger children. We have some ideas, however, that can help you along!

1. Set Time Limits for Photo Sessions

Let’s face it: You’re almost always going to want to spend more time taking photos than your children will want to spend posing for them. But you can meet them in the middle by self-imposing a time limit — and sticking to it! This accomplishes a few things. First, it will likely result in better photos, because you’ll get less cooperation the more time passes. Second, if you stick to the limit, it will show the kids that posing for photos isn’t too bad, and they may be more willing to do it again the next time. But above all else, you may simply find that the kids respond better to the firm limit because of general respect for boundaries. In VeryWell Family’s discussion on setting limits, the most interesting line is that kids “don’t want to be in charge,” and want to know that you are. This speaks to why children so often do better with boundaries, and the same should hold true with a time limit on a photo session.  

Birds eye image of a child playing with toys.

2. Offer Rewards

A lot of parents are uncomfortable offering rewards as incentives, in part because of a popular misconception that it can teach bad tendencies. But a Slate piece on rewards makes a compelling case that rewards can actually be helpful, and certainly don’t hurt. Plus, at the end of the day, we’re talking about something fairly small as a token treat for sitting still for a few minutes! If you’re comfortable with the idea (and the research suggests you can be!), offering small rewards in exchange for a diligent 10- or 15-minute photo session might just get you the calm, cooperative little subjects you want.

3. Get the Equipment You Need

When it comes to the actual photography (beyond getting the kids to cooperate), you might be surprised to learn how far good equipment can get you. And don’t just think that means buying a better camera! There’s plenty more equipment that can help. If you’re not particularly familiar with photography, a ZenBusiness post on starting a photography business has a very handy list of the tools required for professional-quality photography. Granted, you aren’t starting a business. But the article recommends looking into accessories like lenses, flashes, lights and reflectors, and even editing software — all of which may help you if you tend to rely largely on just the camera.

Camera being used to take a photo

4. Work on Editing

We just mentioned editing software and the truth is that even for a lot of professionals, this is where the real magic lies. This does not mean you have to airbrush or photoshop your own children to alter photos. But if you take some time to familiarize yourself with some good editing software (which is often less complicated than you expect), you’ll be able to play with touch-ups, lighting, and various effects that can turn ordinary photos into fairly impressive photos. It takes a bit of work, but if you do it right the end results will be worth it.

5. Take Part in Photos Yourself

Father holding his child above his head
On the subject of how to ‘Build a Stronger Relationship with Your Kids’ we pointed to one of the most crucial elements of parenting, which is that children “learn what they live.” Essentially, they mirror behaviour and learn what is normal or acceptable by watching their parents. This is more of a long-term psychological growth phenomenon, but it can sometimes apply to little things as well. So, if you and your partner and any older siblings also take part in photoshoots — perhaps even on separate days — the younger kids might want to do the same. They’ll see it as something normal and encouraged in the family.

Hopefully one or a few of these tips can help you to get some special photos, even during a strange time! You’ll always be glad to have them, which makes a little bit of extra effort now all the more worthwhile.

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