Child photography tips
Family growing up photography

Would you like to try to make awesome photos of children yourself? Then read my child photography tips below and get started.

Capturing children’s pure and spontaneous side in photos can sometimes be a challenge because children don’t always

feel like posing when we want them to. It is even more rare to have children really pose naturally in a manner as we have in mind.

Despite this, it is very nice to capture the elements of childrens changing and developing when they are growing up. Doing this with different photo shoots over a longer period of time can be a great. This is a lot of fun for the kids parents and family, but also for the kids themselves to look back on when they are grown up.

Child photography tips

If you want to create beautiful photographs of children, there are a number of guidelines that you can take in account as a photographer. These guidlines to kids photography will give you some great options to really create an unique image.

Fast shutter speed


Apart from sleeping children, children are often very unpredictable and move around very

fast. You can use a faster shutter speed to prevent movement in your images. A good guideline for photos without blurryness by momement is to set your camera shutterspeed at least on 1/250, but better is around 1/500.

You will need to have enough light to be able to work with such shutterspeeds, otherwise you only get dark photos. A good option is to do the shoot outside, or work inside using flash with umbrella’s or big softboxes.

Blurred background


By using a low aperture number when making photos of children, you can get a sharp picture of the child with a blurred

background. This causes the focus of the photo to be fully on your child.

In particular, reflex cameras are particularly suitable for achieving this type of effect. This is because you have a wide choice of lenses to choose from. A lens around 50 to 105 mm with a low aperture number is very suitable for this. If you choose a fixed lens with F1.8 they are generally very affordable.

Photographs at eye level of the child

In addition to showing the kids appearance, you may also want to show what they see. In any case, you might want to avoid always looking down on the child or photographing only the hair.

By sitting on your knees yourself or using a small tripod, you can easily visualize the child’s world. You can also ask the child to sit on a table or stairs to make it easier to be on their eye-level.

Ofcourse this is an aspect you can play with as well. Taking a photo straight from above, of maybe from the floor upwards can give an unique effect as well. So play around with different levels and angles when you look at your subject.

Photograph from behind or sideways

By not only taking photos from the front, you will see that you suddenly get very interesting photos. For example, if you take a photo of a child looking over water, it can be a great photo when you capture it from behind.

When you als take pictures from very close up, you don’t get the child completely in the picture, and depending on the distance perhaps not even the whole head. This can still result in the most beautiful pictures. People that look at it can be amazed and triggered to think of what the child is looking at.

If your children play freely, you can take pictures from the side or back as well. This makes the child less likely to be distracted from his or her play. In addition, you can also often beautifully depict the environment in which the child is located.

If the child is focused on an object or other event, for example, you can also capture that image nicely by photographing it diagonally from behind. Besides the child, you can also get an image of the object. By photographing from the side, you can also capture the emotion or facial expression that you miss when photographing from behind.

Fun ideas for child photography

In child photography it is also important to pay attention to the composition. The child does not always have to stand in the middle of the image. An image where the subject is not in the center, is often more interesting. It gives the viewer something to look for and think about, but it also creates interaction with the environment your subject is in.

Let the kids play

When children or people in general are focused on the photographer and are asked

to laugh, you will get a forced laugh. Children who enjoy playing with their favorite toys look much more natural. In you make a joke, their laugh will be genuine. But don’t forget, it is not said that only pictures with laughing children are fun and beautiful. A child looking serious, crying or being focussed on homework can also result in amazing photos.

When a child gets a new toy or something they have never seen before and looks at it in a questionable way, you can catch their true character. Often these photos with a really genuine

emotion are seen as some of the best in the world.

Outdoor photography


By taking photos of children outdoors you can get some really nice pictures. Just think of a child who is building a sand castle on the beach, just rocking, looking at a butterfly or just staring in the distance. In addition, you have objects outside such as playgrounds or puddles of water which you cannot imitate in a studio. And you know how a child stomping his boots in the puddles will create an amazing photo that creates a smile on peoples faces who see it!

Playing’ with food

An idea that can also get you some nice pictures are children that are eating. Of course this is a little age-related, but small children who are eating an ice cream, cake or a bowl of custard often produce beautiful photos.

Something simple as a spoon and dessert is often enough for a beautiful spectacle. If you use a low aperture to create a small depth of field, you can easilly create a nice blurry background as well.

Brothers and sisters or friends

If you want to photograph children together, for example in a family portrait, it is important that everyone is close together. Every little bit of space between the children can look like big gaps on a photo.

Especially with children, it quickly seems as if there is a lot of distance between them.

By asking children to give each other a kiss, a hug or to embrace each other, you not only get those close and intimate portraits. You also get their mutual connection visualized in your photos.

Masterclasses and shoots

I hope you have read some tips and tools that can help you develop your photography skills. Ofcourse there is so much more to tell and explain, but every start is a good one!

Are you new to photographing? You can check out my previous post about starting with photography for some information and you can also check out my article about portrait ideas and assignments.

Would you like some help improving your portrait photography skills? Feel free to send me an email and let’s review the many options I can offer you.

Ofcourse you can also hire me to make some beautiful portraits of your children.

Last but not least, thank you for your time.

Arjan Spannenburg

The Dutch Photographer

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