Children Portrait Photography Techniques

You try and try to get that perfect shot. If only they’d stay still, if only they’d smile… if only they’d look at the camera! So many useful things could have been done in this time, but ugh, you can’t go without pictures. Here are some helpful tips to get through these blunders.

girl laughing

“I am laughing in the rain” captured by Alon

The Poser

Candid shots are always great. They capture the moment, find hidden smiles, and bring you back to the moment whenever you see the photo. You immediately remember where you were and what was happening with candid shots, because they are literally that moment in time. Opposed to one of a thousand fake, “Cheeeeeeeeese!” smiles with no distinguishing features to know what day and time the photo was taken save the background featuring a “Happy Birthday” sign.

child portrait pictures

“little model” captured by Agata Tlalka

To get this effect, you must hide your camera. If you know a child that commonly poses every time you get out the camera, you will need to hide it indefinitely. Some kids are so on auto pilot that they don’t realize that they’re posing. If you really want to get a genuine grin or look of surprise, keep your camera tucked underneath your hand, arm, or any place you can keep it hidden. In addition, have your camera on with all of the correct settings to get that picture at a moment’s notice.

Lack of Focus

With babies, it does not matter much about candid shots. Their deal is that they never look at the camera and/or they cry. This trick solves both the baby not looking and the baby who is crying. How many group photos have you taken where everyone is smiling except Junior? The trick with babies is to first find something that makes them smile. Different babies like different things. Rattles usually do the trick or find something with lights and/or are shiny.

baby laughing

“Reese and Odèlia Giggles” captured by Donnie Ray Jones

Get their attention with any object they find interest in. Baby not smiling? Try instant conditioning. Tickle them or make them laugh any way you can while showing them the chosen object. They will magically keep smiling as they see it because they will associate laughter with that object. Stand right in front of the baby and show this object to them in front of their face. Do not let them grab the object. All the while, use a soothing higher than your normal pitch voice. Slowly, back away from them to your desired spot while showing them this object. Keep them focused on it as you back up. Place your camera directly behind the object and you will have a baby looking at the camera.

The Fake Smile

Say something really random to the kid with the fake smile. “I’m going to eat your toe.” “Say it to my nose hair.” You know the typical things kids laugh at. They’re usually bodily functions which we encourage them not to divulge in public. In this instance (while maintaining a certain degree of gracefulness) you can use this to your advantage. Especially, if you’re not known to “kid” around. The result is a child with a genuine ear to ear grin.

smiling boy

“so much for the smile” captured by Shumona Sharna

Think of these tips the next time you find yourself dreading taking pictures. Following these tips will allow you to completely enjoy yourself and capture that perfect moment in time.

About the Author:
Colin McDonald writes on behalf of Steven Brooks Photographer – Wedding Photographer London.

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One Comment

  1. Andy Holland says:

    I love your article and the images you have to illustrate it, definitely got some tips for photographing the children

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