How to take great pics of your kids (even when they won't cooperate!)

Devon Takenouchi

Posted on July 25 2019

How to Photograph Children?

We’ve reached the mid point of summer. BBQ’s and camp outs are in full swing and it’s THE TIME to get that all too critical photo of your kid...but they have chosen that fateful moment to bring out the big guns and throw a fit. It's okay mom’s, you can admit it, our kids aren’t perfect. 

The shot you want won’t always be the shot your kids give you. There are always two photos, the one you have in your mind and the ones your kids give you” - Jon Canlas 

If you are anything like our family, summers tend to be busy. Kids don’t want to stop what they are doing, and often transitioning from one event to the next can get difficult. The younger the kids are the more uninterested they are in the photos. So pick your timing carefully to help avoid a power struggle.  

Our kids can get tired of parents always taking photos - we should respect that as parents. As a photographer parent I tend to forget that my kids aren’t my clients and might ask a little too much of them in terms of posing. It's okay to be “okay” with the candid moments. These are often the most real and poignant.  Be a ninja, take the photo of the kids and move on - in the end what is more important; the image on your phone or the memory that your kids get to make. It’s okay to let them be kids and not interrupt their childhood! 

Tips for Photographing Kids

Here are a couple tips to help ease the pressure of taking the “perfect” photo this summer

  • If you want a posed, smiling and looking at the camera photo it is often easiest to get that out of the way first rather than trying to redirect mid-stream.  You could try to prep the kids in the car by letting them know your expectations of getting a photo in front of XXX (the statue, the ocean, the park sign etc) and then letting the wolves run wild and free afterwards.  They can be a little more motivated to get the momma shot out of the way first.
  • Give them a break.  As a family photographer I’ve learned that sometimes the easiest way to get the photos I want is to let the kids have a break.  Let them get a snack, play for about 5 minutes, get a drink of water, anything but have to “look and smile”for the camera. Allowing them a breather lets both of us regroup and eventually swing back around to getting the photo we want.
  • And while you are at it, during that little break be prepared to take some candid images. Sometimes these are more poignant than the posed photos, and it allows the kids to just be themselves.
  • Take the photo of them being a little twerp sometimes you just need to document the moment as-is and let that be what you remember.

  • Know your gear before you take that life changing photo. If there is a critical moment that you want photographed, having tools that you are unfamiliar with can just make things more aggravating
  • Relax, what is more important, the moment with your kids or the photo of the moment?

I hope that these help you take a deep breathe and lean into the moments that you get to have with your kids this summer! Now is the time to let the kids get a little dirt under their fingernails, swim for that extra 10 minutes and go ahead and roast the extra marshmallow! Soon enough it will be time for back to school. 

Devon is a mom to 2, a professional photographer, and shoots amazing photos for Little Skye's trendy kids boutique.

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