How to Photograph Your Kids Like a Pro


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I’ve been keeping a little secret; for just about a year now I’ve had quite a bit of help keeping the blog running smoothly thanks my assistant, Heidi. Not only is she an essential part of the Making Lemonade team, she’s also a talented family photographer with a gift for capturing the joy and personalities of kids and families in photos. Thankfully she’s agreed to share tips and tricks for snapping amazing photos of your kids and family, and makes it so easy to understand that anyone can confidently do it. While she mentions using a DSLR camera, there’s plenty of tips to use with your point-and-shoot or even your smartphone to snap great summer photos. Take it away, Heidi!

Capturing the everyday with my kiddos is my absolute favorite and I was so excited when Carrie asked me to write a guest post about how to photograph yours!

DSLR cameras can be a bit intimidating with all of their buttons, dials and menu options so I’m going to skip most of the technical camera talk and focus on how to get the candid, in-the-moment shots of your kids.

Before we dive in, I always recommend purchasing a Nikon 35mm f/1.8G lens (Canon has a 50mm f/1.8 lens that is around the same price) for those starting out. The lens is a game changer; it has the ability to let in a ton of light (very helpful for indoor shooting!) and give the blurry backgrounds that everyone loves.

…And onto capturing those candid, in-the-moments shots!

Learn how to take photographs of your kids this summer and every day

Keep your camera easily accessible. Make sure you’re able to grab your camera if there’s a moment you want to quickly capture. I keep my camera with a charged battery and a ready-to-go memory card in a room on our main floor. It’s not a chore to grab it so I use it a lot.

Find the beauty in the every day moments. Your everyday will constantly change. Be sure to capture the things that might not seem extraordinary. You’ll miss them someday, I promise. My favorite photos are the ones of my kids baking, putting together puzzles, painting, sleeping, reading, playing dress-up, driving trains. My kids have mostly grown out of playing dress-up, and some of the activities we used to do so much more before the school years. I am always so grateful that I didn’t look past these moments and instead took out my camera.

Learn how to take photographs of your kids this summer and every day

Change up the angles and distances you shoot from. Sometimes photographing from a different angle can give a completely different feel. I’ll often shoot the same activity from multiple angles. Shooting from above is one of my favorite ways to switch it up. Don’t forget to get in close to capture big smiles and laughs and to step back when fitting more elements into the frame will tell a better story.

Learn how to take photographs of your kids this summer and every day

Learn how to take photographs of your kids this summer and every day

Don’t interrupt. Be a fly on the wall! Kids act differently when they know they’re being photographed. We all know and love the giant toddler “cheese” face, but there’s something special about getting a photograph of them in their element doing their thing without them realizing.

There are times where I do ask them to do what they were doing one more time (mostly for action shots).

And while I said I wasn’t going to get technical on you, I can’t help but talk very briefly about lighting. The easiest light sources to use are window light and open shade.

Window light is an amazing source of natural light while indoors. If possible, avoid turning on lights, instead open blinds a bit more and try to work with that light as much as you can.

Learn how to take photographs of your kids this summer and every day

Open Shade allows you to avoid harsh sunlight when outdoors and keeps lighting more even in the photo. Stand in the shadow of a tree or building if it’s nearby.

Learn how to take photographs of your kids this summer and every day

Backlighting gives a magical element to photos. I love, love, love shooting with the sun setting behind my subjects. It can take some time to learn, but I think it’s well worth it if you’re wanting to dive deeper into photography.

I sometimes tell my kids to go do what they were doing in a certain area that has better lighting if I’m trying to grab a shot. I don’t tell them it’s for a photo so they usually go right back to what they’re doing in the better lit location!

Learn how to take photographs of your kids this summer and every day

I love photography gear and accessories so I had to pull some basic gear and a few fun things together for you! There are so many great DSLRs and so many to choose from. This particular model linked below also has video. The lens is the one I mentioned at the beginning of my post and it really does makes a huge difference in shooting. If you’re trying to decide on a higher camera model or a lens, I would personally go with the lens first (unless your camera is a dinosaur). Understanding Exposure is one of the first books I read when I started to dive into photography and it’s always one I recommend to others. The rest are fun accessories that I would also like to personally purchase for myself!Check out these photography must-haves

1. Striped Camera Bag

Even though I’ve been shooting with a DSLR for 9 years now, I learned a few tricks from Heidi’s post. 😉 Check out her amazing work over at her website, and feel free to ask questions in the comments below (let’s get her back for another post, right?!) Now go out and capture those summer memories, friends. Even small moments during the lazy days of summer like blanket forts and sprinkler running will be precious to remember one day.

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  1. Thank you for your post, I love photos of my kids not looking but just their backs and tops of heads it feels so intimate. I was wondering if you could share any tips on how to get that focused on one object blurry background shot. I cant seem to master it. I have a Sony a55 dslr digital.
    Thanks from Texas (lots of sprinkler running out here in the heat)

  2. Hi,
    Loved this article especially point about how to photograph your kids like a pro
    sharing this on facebook and pinterest

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