Guide to Taking Great Photos of Your Kids

If you’re like me, most of the pictures you have of your kids these days are blurred snaps from your smartphone. When I do remember to get my “big” camera out, I usually take about a thousand photos just to get one or two good ones. And when I say “good,” I am talking about Facebook- or blog-post worthy, but probably not framing on the wall-worthy. Getting kids to cooperate for photos is hard enough without having that Pinterest image in your head taunting you. In my efforts to chase down the all too elusive picture-perfect moment, I often reach out to my photographer and friend, Rebekah Wright. She has agreed to answer a few questions to help us parents hone our picture taking skills.

Rhea Lana's Boy in Tree.jpg

Where would you say is the best place to take photos of kids?  I prefer taking photos of children outdoors, unless you're indoors someplace that has great natural light.

Is there a particular time of day that is better for outdoor photos?  Early mornings or the evening right before sunset will give you the best light. If you can't go out during those times, just pick spots that have lots of open shade and you can shoot any time of day.

What kind of lighting do you recommend?  For candid and more natural photos I would recommend using natural light or window light if you're indoors.

Do you need backgrounds, props, etc?  They're not necessary, but it's always fun for kids to have something to play with or to be posed around, especially if you're doing pictures for a birthday or holiday.

Can you take a decent photo with a smartphone or do you recommend sticking with a camera?  I have taken some great shots with my smartphone. If that's all you've got, it's better than not having that shot to remember.

Besides a camera, do you need any extra equipment?  No. Great pictures don't come from having the most fancy camera or equipment. Capturing a great expression or moment is what matters the most in my opinion.

If you were to buy some equipment, what one thing would you recommend buying?  I would say a reflector. They are inexpensive and can add a lot of additional light to your photo. It's great to have one just leaning on something opposite your light source to give you a bright shot.

Rhea Lana's Boy on Train.jpg

What kind of editing software do you recommend?  I use Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. They have a subscription service you can get for $10 a month. If you're not shooting much, Adobe Photoshop Elements is great, as well as iPhoto on a Mac.

Do you have any pointers for parents who are trying to get away from using the auto setting on their cameras? My biggest suggestion is to not be afraid of shooting on manual.  Play with it and just shoot pictures, and eventually it will come second nature. Try shooting on Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority at first. Set your aperture to what you want and it will adjust the shutter speed and vice versa for Shutter Priority. It will get you looking at how your camera compensates.

What are your favorite moments to capture?  I prefer the candid moments. I like to let kids run around and play and get natural moments.

What is your best piece of advice for photographing kids?  Be flexible. You can't try to fit kids into your time schedule. Work around naptime and bring snacks!

Dressing for photos, any tips?  Don't wear white or black. Put your kids in colorful clothing. They don't have to match each other either. As long as their outfits look good together, it will work.

Anything parents might find surprising about taking photos of their kids?  I don't have kids myself, but I have found it’s easier to take photos of kids when their parents are not around, so don't be surprised if they don't cooperate or don't last very long.

Rhea Lana's Boy with Balloons.jpg

Thanks Rebekah for sharing these tips and tricks with us! I just want to add that as a blogger and a parent with limited time, PicMonkey is a great resource for a quick photo edit, and it’s free unless you want extra bells and whistles. I hope these tips help you capture some wonderful moments as your children grow and encounter new milestones!

What other tips would you add as a parent? 

By The Women Bloggers/Rhea Lana blogger Julianne Thompson of JulianneGray.com.