How to Use a Sound Trigger to Photograph Kids

Photographers know that the two hardest living things to capture good pictures of are children and animals. Because they’re constantly active and moving, it can be quite a challenge to keep young children stationary long enough to focus your lens and snap a picture before they’re off and running toward the next shiny object they see.

Inventor James Madelin created the ioShutter to combine the iPhone and a DSLR to create incredible time-lapse, stop-action, or single frame photos using your iPhone as the trigger. As an added bonus, Madelin created a feature in the ioShutter app that allows you to trigger the shutter through sound or movement.

So, how does this invention make it easier to photograph kids? In this video, Madelin shows us how the ioShutter allows children to essentially take their own photos:

How to Set Up a Simple Studio to Photograph Kids

Madelin says it’s very easy to set up an impromptu, portable studio for a reasonable cost. For this shoot, Madelin simply found a white hallway which bounces and softens the light from the Speedlights, creating professional-looking images. He set up two Speedlights on nano stands–one to the left of his camera, facing the white wall, and the other behind his white backdrop. Madelin divulges another secret to save money on this studio set; he suggests using a white sheet clipped to a backdrop frame rather than spending a great deal of money on an expensive, heavy cloth background.

simple studio setup

To get amazing photos of his kids, the most important part of this setup is one of the smallest pieces–the ioShutter connecting Madelin’s camera to his iPhone.


The free ioShutter app allows Madelin to set the shutter settings from his phone. Here, he has it set so there is a short delay from whenever the app recognizes his kids shouting, clapping, or screaming, to when the shutter snaps. This gives the kids a chance to close their mouths and smile before the photo is taken.


The interaction with the camera app allows kids to be involved in the picture-taking process, making it more fun and engaging than simply posing for a photographer. The results are pictures that truly show kids having a great time–a product every parent would be overjoyed to display and share.

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3 responses to “How to Use a Sound Trigger to Photograph Kids”

  1. chris dowd says:

    Wow! Fantastic shots James and love the simple set up and sound trigger (though you might end up a bit deaf at end of the day!). So was the camera popup flash providing a catch light/fill too?
    Thanks, Chris

  2. Scott says:

    Thanks for the post, I’m putting this on my wishlist…There is a similar, but unrelated, gadget on Kickstarter called Looky Loo Light that would make an excellent pair for a setup like this. That’d be a fool-proof system!! See it here:

  3. Kids and animal photography is really harder than other photography. Some things must be considered to capture the children’s photographs. Your tips to set up a studio for kids photography are very useful.

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