Tips + Techniques

Tips for Taking Great Candid Pictures of Kids

April 4, 2024

By Elena S Blair

Children are notoriously difficult to photograph. I was recently asked in a mom’s groups for advice on how to take candid pictures of kids by yourself. It made me realize that most parents don’t know the first thing about how to take a decent photo of their children. I’m sure many photographers also feel challenged by taking pictures of kids as well. So, here are a few tips to help you take better photos of kids.

© Elena S Blair

5 Tips for Taking Great Candid Pictures of Kids

  1. The most important thing is to make sure you have good light. Make sure the room you are using has good window light and turn off the overhead lights and your flash.
  2. Be a little goofy. Sing silly songs or tell ridiculous jokes. Better yet, ask the kid to tell you a joke. I don’t think any child can tell a joke without laughing themselves silly in the process.
  3. Ask the child NOT to smile. Then say, “Uh oh. I think you’re starting to smile. Don’t do it…don’t do it!” Keep going until they crack up. 
  4. Watch out for nostrils. They don’t look attractive in photos, so try and shoot down the nose. 
  5. Make sure you take photos continuously throughout your 10 or 15 minute mini shoot, even if the child is being silly, goofing off, or glaring at you. Take lots and lots of photos. Kids’ expressions change quickly, and if you wait for a good smile, chances are by the time you snap the shutter you’ll have missed it.

I hope you find this helpful and have fun shooting!

© Elena S Blair

 Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared on Elena S Blair’s Blog.

Elena S Blair is an award-winning Lifestyle Family and Newborn photographer and a photography educator who frequently teaches at WPPI. Her new course, Schooled, teaches how to create Fine Art School Portraits in a way that will change your mind about what a school portrait can be. Follow her on Instagram.

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Family Lifestyle Photography by Elena Blair
Newborn and Maternity Lifestyle Photography by Elena Blair
The Newborn Series
Editing Family Photos
The Family Posing Series
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