6 Tips for Photographing Your Own Children

Eudora Welty once said “A good snapshot keeps a moment from running away.” One thing I think we all can agree on is that our children grow up so quickly, and our photographs of life’s little moments with them are treasured. Having taken more than a few photos of my boys, I’d like to share some tips I’ve learned to help you to take better photographs of your little ones now and as they grow up.

1. Let them be themselves in the moment. When your child is doing something they are obviously enjoying, let them enjoy it! Try to keep yourself from asking them to look at you and say “Cheese” unless you want that forced sideways smile they give to appease you so they can get back to their fun!  Some of my favorite images of my boys are when they are so busy playing or having fun, they don’t even realize I have my camera out.

2. Take a step back. I love a good, close-up photo of my children, but there’s a lot to be said about having a photograph that shows the whole picture. Take a moment to step back and include a good portion of the scenery around you. It will help you later on to remember the day in it’s whole, instead of just your child’s face, as adorable as it is.

3. Use something they love.  Take them outside, give them their favorite toy and ask them what they love about it, or just sit back and let them play.

You can also ask them about a special place they’ve been, or someone special they can tell you about. Chances are they’ll have plenty to say, with their little faces full of expression. (The image below is when we were talking about his upcoming birthday party!) You know your child more than anyone, and know what they love to talk about!

4. Ask them for input. Everyone likes to voice their opinion, and when you let your kids use their imagination to come up with some ideas, the possibilities are endless. You may not end up with what you have envisioned in your mind, but more often than not, you’ll all have fun in the process. 

Take this one for example: I knew I wanted a few photos of my older son with his skateboard, but showing me some tricks was his idea. He was much happier having a say!

5. Show them their photos. One of the great things about living in an era of digital technology is that you can show your kids instantly what the picture looks like. Most children love to see themselves! Even better, hand the camera over to them and ask them to take some photos. You get to see what they see, and they get an idea of what it feels like to be on the other side for a change.

6. Get in the picture sometimes too!  I’ll be the first to admit I’m guilty of not doing this as much as I could. Since most cameras have a timer feature, set it up on a table or shelf, and get in the picture with your children.  Photograph yourselves doing the things you love to do together – reading books, making cookies, playing in their rooms with them, and on and on. They will treasure them someday, as much as you treasure your snapshots of them.

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