Tips For Photographing Your Own Children

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Little Bird Photography

Frustrated? Want a few tips for photographing your own children?

Ah the photographer’s child …often wary of the camera, quick to run in the opposite direction, and prone to rolling their eyes at you. It doesn’t have to be a painful ordeal. It can, and should, be fun to photograph your own children. My little muses have had a camera in their face since birth and they’re immune to it. They even occasionally embrace it. Here are some tips to help.

Set the scene.

When you want to take pictures, you can often set the scene so it’s optimal for photos. Indoors this might involve de-cluttering a room, opening curtains, or moving an art table into good light. Once you’re set up, you can invite the kids to play. If you’re heading outside, you might plan your adventures early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when the light is nice.



Use your intel.

You know your kids best. You know if they’re suckers for knock-knock jokes or twirling or sticks. Use your inside information to suggest activities or get them laughing.


Don’t push it.

I like to keep camera time positive. I always interact and play with the kids while taking photos. I let them do their own thing and occasionally suggest directions to get them in nice light, “Hey, look at that pretty flower over there! I wonder what it smells like.” When they’re inspired to do their own thing for the camera, or want to you to photograph something specific, indulge them.


Get them involved.

Seeing the final products make them happy. I invite them to view pictures together and select their favorites for printing. If they’re interested, get them shooting too. My kids have a shockproof, waterproof point-and-shoot camera that they love to use. Sometimes we take photo adventures together and search for colors or letters of the alphabet to photograph.


When desperate, offer bribes.

As they have gotten older, I started paying them to model; in other words, I ask them stand in a certain spot for a few minutes in exchange for a lollipop or gummy treat. I don’t do it often, but it’s a handy option when the light is unbelievable or when I just need to practice a specific technique.





I hope this gives you some ideas and inspires you to photograph your children more often. Go play!

Equipment Used: Canon 5D Mark III; Sigma 50mm f1.4, Canon tilt-shift 45mm f2.8 (affiliate links)

Heather of Little Bird Photography is a family photographer based on the beautiful island of Oahu in Hawaii. She specializes in capturing fun and love with the beautiful backdrop of Hawaii. See her work here.

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