Photographing Children – Tips and Ideas

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When it comes to photographing children many parents quickly find that those darling shots they had hoped to capture elude them. There can be a number of challenges when it comes to taking great photos of children; however, with a few simple tips for photographing children it is possible to not only get the shots you want, but to truly capture their interests and personalities as well.

Ensure you check out the warning at the end – you really want to avoid making this easy to forget mistake!

Props for Photographing Children

Depending on the age of your child choosing the right props can certainly help create the perfect setting or backdrop for your pictures. For infants, it is generally best to keep props to a minimum, perhaps a favorite blanket, stuffed animal or other small toy; however, the focus should be on the child. As your child gets older, you will likely want to include photos that include hobbies, sports activities or social events. Of course, action shots and natural poses are great, but when you want a special photograph capturing your child’s unique talent or interest, you might want to spend some time ensuring that you create the right composition.

For example, a portrait of your child in their team uniform or holding their band instrument can make for a memorable photo. Regardless of what props you use, be sure to consider framing your pictures carefully. Too many distractions will take away from the photograph; however, a few well-placed items can help create balance and focus on a theme.

Outdoor Photography Ideas

Some of the best children photography ideas include outdoor shots that capture the innocence of children. A child playing in a puddle, examining a leaf or even just gazing at a butterfly can create some of the most beautiful pictures; however, these shots cannot be rushed. It is especially important when photographing children that you be patient and wait for the right time. Sit with your camera and just observe; be patient and when the moment is right, get your shot.

The Lowdown!

Other tips for photographing children include taking shots from their perspective. Get down to their level and photograph them from this vantage point. Additionally, remember that candid shots can be a great way to capture their unique personalities. Your subject does not even need to know that they are being photographed. Take photos of them reading, relaxing or just having fun. This technique can result in some very beautiful pictures that truly capture your child’s personality.


When photographing children it is important to keep in mind that diversity can add interest to your pictures. Don’t get into the habit of having every photo perfectly centered, this can get boring. Instead, take some photos with the subject off center (perhaps using the Rule of Thirds) for added interest. When it comes to taking pictures of children, one of the best children photography ideas is to simply have fun. Experiment with different settings, compositions and angles. Photograph kids in candid shots as well as in more formal portraits and you will have a wide range of photos that will help highlight the child.

Legal Issues

One thing to think about is the law and photographing children. In some jurisdictions and venues there may be restrictions on photographing minors. A public swimming pool, for example, may restrict the taking of photographs. Checking out the laws and rules that apply to you may save you some problems later. There’s a Wikipedia article about this but don’t rely on it because, as of February 2013, it needs a little improvement.

Legal issues are particularly important with regard to photographing children in a state of undress. Some parents, even famous names, have been questioned or arrested over what they believed to be ordinary family photographs. Many countries have laws designed to protect children that can sometimes result in innocent parents or others being suspected of inappropriate behavior. You could be saving yourself a lot of problems by being careful that your photographs are considered suitable.

One Famous Case

There is the famous case of the photographer Sally Mann. Her hardcover book of photographs of her young children caused a lot of controversy due to the explicit nature of some of the images.

You can read a little more about Sally Mann on Wikipedia and in a New York Times’ article entitled “The Disturbing Photography of Sally Mann”.

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