A Beginner’s Guide to Photographing Children

March 16, 2014 | Mark Goldstein | Photography Techniques | 16 Comments | |
A Beginner’s Guide to Photographing Children Image

FTC Disclaimer: this article has been sponsored by Craftsy

Craftsy offers a free Professional Family Portraits class that teaches you how to take professional family portraits

1. Shooting at Home

Taking pictures at home, rather than in a professional studio, has become popular in recent years. Your home is a much more natural environment for children, as it instantly puts them at ease.

Start by moving the couch out of the living room to create an area big enough for the shoot.

If possible setup a grey seamless paper roll on a stand to create a neutral background, or failing that use an uncluttered wall for more environmental portraits.

Window lighting provides beautiful natural, directional light that you can utilise during the shoot.

White ceiling and walls are perfect for bounce flash - if they're a different colour, use a white sheet.

Most importantly, make people feel comfortable at home. Don't make too many changes to their natural environment.

A Beginner's Guide to Photographing Children

2. Kids are Impatient

Make sure that you perfect the setup first before bringing in the kids - they'll quickly lose patience with you if you're not ready.

Use faster, longer lenses to defocus the background - a fast 85mm lens is great for portraits, but the long end of the standard zoom that came with your interchangeable lens camera is also good.

Position your subjects at least 6 feet in front of the background, in order to defocus background and to drop shadows behind them.

3. Using Flash

Use a flashgun to help freeze children's movements.

Bounce the flash off the ceiling to increase the lighting sweet spot - setting the shutter speed to 1/25th sec and the aperture to f/4 is a good starting point.

Invest in a flashgun that can be tilted towards both walls and ceilings.

A Beginner's Guide to Photographing Children

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portrait, technique, flash, portraits, techniques, portraiture, tips, children, kids, child, kid, son, daughter, bounce

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Your Comments

16 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 Saravana Kumar

Good bit of advice.. thanks.

4:40 pm - Sunday, March 16, 2014

#2 Mike Hilmer

Great guide. Someting I have also learned is to keep it simple. When it comes to children, you just have to let their natural innocence shine through in your photos. Take their photos while they are playing at the jungle gym. Photograph them while they are at home relaxing with their families. Focus on the candid smiles and the exuberant laughter.

8:54 pm - Tuesday, March 18, 2014

#3 FreeDPT | Photography Tips

Definitely a good read. I agree with Mike, its best to let children play in their natural surroundings to get some nice candid shots. Having them sit still for a staged portrait usually only works in theory, but not in practice (at least not for long LOL!)

Its usually best to take the documentary photographer approach.

10:50 pm - Tuesday, March 18, 2014

#4 picbackman

Having them sit still for that perfect shot is the biggest challenge. To keep them busy and sit still, give them something to do.

12:44 pm - Wednesday, March 19, 2014

#5 Olovo

Definitely a good read. I agree with Mike, its best to let children play in their natural surroundings to get some nice candid shots. Having them sit still for a staged portrait

11:10 am - Friday, March 28, 2014

#6 friv

I always was interested in this topic. Guide to valuable personal you mean so much to me. Thanks

8:48 am - Monday, May 19, 2014

#7 Tracy Myn

I have a 2 year old and the advice in this post is excellent. Thanks

8:30 am - Tuesday, June 17, 2014

#8 Paul S. Reaves

Read such a wise and graceful post. Thanks for sharing this. Great job!!

10:49 am - Wednesday, July 30, 2014

#9 Duwi Mertiana

Remember to make the angle as low as the kids :)
I mean, the angle should be the same level with the kid.

1:14 am - Saturday, August 30, 2014

#10 Manny Jimenez

Hadn’t thought about using a seamless behind furniture. That’s genius!

4:46 pm - Monday, October 20, 2014

#11 Wedding photographer

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11:26 am - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

#12 Rogy Silvido

Indeed its a hard time to shoot with kids, for the fact that they are moody and so playful. Though there are times that they participate, the most common alternative way to look your photographs more gorgeous is to edit it manually using photoshop, or adding some corrections. If you are new with photo editing check this for your reference http://www.photoeditingcompany.com/photo-editing-tips-for-beginners/ .

9:13 am - Monday, October 27, 2014

#13 Maria

Great and useful guide! I am very interested in kids and baby photography. Check this: http://goodtimephotography.us/i-found-those-eyes-at-blue-line/ and tell me your opinion guys!

1:46 pm - Tuesday, October 28, 2014

#14 Randhir

Check out KCC Photography, he’s one of my favourite child photographers.

6:57 pm - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

#15 Andybaby

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1:48 am - Thursday, February 12, 2015

#16 BlackBox

Just one good advice missing. At almost any cost avoid studio photos of children. They ALL look unnatural and antiseptic. Grab a camera with fast AF, a good lens and photograph children in their “natural habitat” - playing, doing sports, riding bikes, climbing trees, watching their favorite movies/cartoons. The whole charm of photographing children is capturing their emotions. You can’t do that in a studio.

5:59 am - Friday, March 13, 2015