Taking Photos with Kids Tips

taking photos with kids

Taking photos with kids can seem like a daunting task. Unsure if they will be in the mood, if you’ll be capturing more tears than smiles or if it’s even worth the hassle. Well, I promise you it is.

I fell in love with taking pictures with my daughter after she was born. I always enjoy looking at photos of my mom and I, and I wish she had taken more.

While taking photos of just my daughter is always fun, I think it’s important to get in the frame with her too. There is something so special about capturing the bond between mother and child.

Even though I enjoy taking photos with my daughter, that doesn’t mean it always works out or that it’s easy. In fact, the older she gets, the harder it becomes. She is about to be two years old, so her attitude is coming on full force if ya know what I mean 🙂

But, I have learned how to make taking photos with her an easier and less daunting task. If you are in need of some pointers, keep reading to get some tips for taking photos with kids!

Choose a fun location

I always prefer to take photos outside and switching up the location. Kids love to explore and see new places. I’m always scoping out pretty fields or parks that would provide good backdrops but also some fun for Hadleigh.

Some of my favorite places to take photos are hiking trails, fields with pretty wildflowers, somewhere with a view like a mountain/hill top, or even a cute spot downtown.

Make sure everyone is fed

I don’t know about you, but I’m not in the mood to do anything if I’m hungry, let alone take pictures.

Kids are the same way, if not worse. Trying to take photos with kids while they’re hungry will surely result in a meltdown. I always make sure that Hadleigh eats something before we do anything, or I bring a snack as a little treat for cooperating.

Choose the best time of day

Photography wise, early mornings or evenings during sunset are the best times to take photos. However, you probably want to choose the time of day when your kids are in the best mood.

These times of day change for us seasonally, but I try to get the best of both worlds. Right now during spring, sunset is around 8pm. My daughter goes to bed by 7 so I’ll normally aim for around 5:30 to take photos if we are going outside. That way the sun is a little dimmer, Hadleigh will be fed with dinner or a late snack, and she won’t be too tired and cranky.

Shoot candid moments

I rarely ever go for the posed looks when taking photos with my daughter. It’s just too hard to get them to stay still or get that to do what you want.

I think the best photos are those that are caught in the moment, or what they call “candid”. Some of my favorite candid shots include:

  • me throwing her up in the air
  • me trying to make her laugh so we get some sweet giggle shots
  • us walking and holding hands
  • dancing together
  • chasing each other

Shooting candid moments makes things way more relaxed and less stressful. Plus they turn into the best pictures!

Make it fun!

Going along with candid moments…make taking photos worth it for your kids! Play a game with them, dance, chase them around. These are all activities your kids will enjoy while also making sure you get great photos at the same time! 

I also like to dress my daughter is something fun and cute, like a flowy dress. She enjoys dressing up, so I think this adds to the fun factor of photo taking.

The last thing you want is for your kids to associate your camera with stress or an activity they don’t want to do. Just don’t take it too seriously.

Pro tip: when taking action shots with a DSLR, make sure you adjust your shutter speed. Higher shutter speeds allow a better capture of movement. I find the best shutter speed to be from 500-800 when capturing motion.

Involve your kids in the process

Let your kids look at the pictures of themselves after a couple takes. My daughter loves to see photos of herself. She thinks it is the coolest thing. 

Allowing them to be involved helps them to feel important and will increase the fun.

Don’t set too high of expectations

I used to get so upset if we took the effort to get dressed, drive to a pretty location and my daughter just wasn’t feeling it and the photos didn’t turn out. I’ve learned that it is not the end of the world. There will always be another opportunity to take pictures.

Just try to have fun with it! And the more fun you are having, the more fun it will be for your kids!

Click here to see how I edit my photos

Click here for my favorite online photography course

taking photos with kids

Dusty rose maxi dress by Showpo

Necklace by Showpo

Toddler mauve floral dress by Zara

Toddler sandals by Old Navy

taking photos with kids


  1. Kam
    April 27, 2020 / 2:35 pm

    Oh yes! I remember taking pictures in the studio when my lo turned an year old. It was such a challenge to sit him in one place for a nice shot. Thanks for sharing these tips, wish I knew when mine were little.

    • laurashelighblog
      April 27, 2020 / 2:49 pm

      Yes, it can be a challenge in a professional setting especially! Thanks for reading!

  2. April 27, 2020 / 5:43 pm

    These pictures are beautiful! We just had amazing family pictures taken a couple of months ago. These tips would have come in so handy.

    • laurashelighblog
      April 27, 2020 / 6:42 pm

      Thank you girl! Keep the post in mind for next time 🙂

  3. April 27, 2020 / 6:56 pm

    Yes, being fed is very important for all. I love the candid shots. Thanks for these great photography tips!

  4. Michelle
    April 27, 2020 / 10:53 pm

    It’s always so hard to get kids to sit still and take photos or smile pretty! These are great tips! Thank you!

  5. Quianna
    April 29, 2020 / 8:36 am

    Getting my two year to sit still is horrible! These were great tips.

  6. April 29, 2020 / 7:22 pm

    Next on my to-do list… get a new camera so that I can actually take good pictures lol I will definitely be using these tips! Thanks momma!

  7. June 28, 2020 / 4:18 pm

    It’s such an important reminder to get in the shot ourselves. In a few years we will want to remember us as well. And they will want to see us when they get older. Thank you!

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