Don't Hire a Photographer: Here's How to Photograph Your Child Like A Pro

Stressed about not getting that perfect shot of your child as she dances in the sunshine or sits by window? These amazing tips by an expert will get you the best pictures of your little one

By Alex Schult

Don't Hire a Photographer: Here's How to Photograph Your Child Like A Pro

Pictures of your children as they grow up are among the most precious things you can have as a parent. But far too many parents are afraid to grab a camera and document the moments in their children’s lives out of fear of not getting a high enough quality shot.

If that sounds like you, fear no more. Using the tips outlined below, you can capture top-notch photos of your kids without having to hire a pro!

Give Them Something to Do

Don't Hire a Photographer: Here's How to Photograph Your Child Like A Pro

The chances are that your kids are like most kids – as soon as you pull out your camera, they either stiffen up like a board or get silly. An easy way to avoid that is to give your kids something to do to distract them from the fact that you’re taking their photo. Give them their favorite toy. Have them play with the dog or cat. Go outside in the backyard and take photos of them playing with a sibling or a friend.

Something as simple as having them blow bubbles or catch ladybugs will help you capture more genuine moments because they’ll be focused on the task at hand, not on the fact that you’ve got a camera.

Use a Prime Lens

Don't Hire a Photographer: Here's How to Photograph Your Child Like A Pro

A prime lens is a lens with a fixed focal length, like 24 mm, 50 mm or 85 mm. The primary advantage of a prime lens is that it often has very large apertures, like f/1.4, f/1.8 or f/2. What that means is that these lenses are capable of collecting a ton of light. That’s advantageous for indoor photos or photos outside at dusk or at night. But there’s another advantage to a lens with a large aperture – you can more easily blur the background in the photos of your kids.

Don't Hire a Photographer: Here's How to Photograph Your Child Like A Pro

That blurry background is thanks to a number of factors, including the aperture used, the distance from your lens to the subject, and the distance from the subject to the background.

So, if you want a shot of your kid that looks professional, open up the aperture to its smallest number (which is actually the largest aperture opening), get close to your child, and be sure the nearest background object is as far away as possible.

The result will be a beautifully blurred background that helps your child stand out in the photo. If you’re not sure what lens to use, a great option that’s hugely versatile and inexpensive is a 50 mm f/1.8.

Hang Back Away from the Action

Don't Hire a Photographer: Here's How to Photograph Your Child Like A Pro

If you want to get authentic, candid photos of your children that have more meaning than a standard posed portrait, the key is to hang back away from the action.

Don't Hire a Photographer: Here's How to Photograph Your Child Like A Pro

As noted earlier, by giving your children space to be themselves – whether that’s on their own, with a friend or sibling, or playing with toys – you help them to relax and forget that you’re even there.

Avoid the temptation to say, “Look at the camera” or “Smile!” Instead, be patient, let the situation unfold, and snap away. The more you intervene, the more frustrated you’ll both become – your child because you’re interfering with their time and you because your child isn’t doing what you want.

Don't Hire a Photographer: Here's How to Photograph Your Child Like A Pro

So, give them space to explore, play, and be silly, and the resulting photos will be much more meaningful than if you take them to the local portrait studio for a posed portrait.

To make this approach even more successful, switch your camera to continuous shooting mode (check your camera’s owner’s manual for instructions regarding how to do this). This allows you to take a burst of photos with every press of the shutter button as opposed to a single image.

Understandably, the more photos you take, the more likely you are to capture that perfect moment when your child is smiling, laughing, loving on their siblings or friends, and just enjoying themselves. And that is what will help you improve the quality of the photos you take of your kids!

Since 2009, PhotographyTalk has been helping the world take better photos. Their mission to empower photographers of all skill levels to achieve their potential has been fulfilled by making learning about photography an easier and more accessible process. They have been featured in Huffington Post, Inc. Magazine, Forbes and many more.