8 Ways to Get Great, At-Home Photos of Your Children

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Natural expressions means beautiful photos!

Getting a great shot of your child(ren). It can be magical – but too often the thinking is that unless you’re a professional, you can’t capture that magic. And when we try our hardest to get them to smile, we end up with something like this:

What can happen when you ask kids to smile: forced, unnatural expressions.

In truth, all it takes are some tips (and a whole lotta patience!) to get that frame-worthy shot. You don’t need fancy cameras or special lighting. Just pull out your phone or favorite camera, and get ready to start clicking!

1. Give Me Some Light!

I know, I just told you not to worry about special lighting. And while that’s certainly true, more than 80% of getting that beautiful shot is finding the right light. Ideal is to have light falling on your subject, but second best is using the brightness feature on your phone. That’s what it’s there for! It should be your first go-to for improving the quality of a pic when you have less-than-ideal light.

2. Try Pretending:

Let them think your play has nothing to do with taking a photo. Just have fun, and without making a big deal out of getting shots, take as many as you reasonably can.

3. “Does a Cow Say Woof?!”

Kids love pretending to be animals and you can too, with this fun game: ask them nonsensical animal-sound questions, like “does a cow say ‘woof'” or “what’s the chicken say, ‘quack’, right?”. I played this game with my daughter and friend to get these shots and they absolutely loved it. This joking around immediately gets their attention and laughter while trying to correct me.

4. Reverse Psychology:

Try telling them that whatever they do, DO NOT smile! While initially they will try their best to comply, eventually the smile will win out. This is practically a foolproof way to induce a genuine (as opposed to forced) grin!

5. Let’s Make Some Faces!

Super simple, super effective: let them know in an excited tone that you’ll be giving them prompts, but they need to wait for them. Make them wait (not too long, we’re talking shortish attention spans here!) and then let ’em rip: “Show me your hungry face”. Show me your “I am a dog” face. Your “I gotta pee” face. Now get ready for some fun pictures: the crazier the prompt, the crazier the response. Key with this technique is to remember that you are capturing the in-between expressions, not the silly faces (but get some of those for posterity, too)!

6. Observe and Capture:

How many times have you caught your children deeply involved in play or some other activity and just melted at the expressions on their faces? By simply watching, you may capture some very precious moments – without ever asking them to pose. You can also call out to them every so often, and when they look towards you, click away: you’re bound to get an unrehearsed beauty.

7. Get Down on Their Level:

Literally. Go onto your knees or lay down on the floor to be at their level. This not only reduces distortion but allows you access to angles and positions you wouldn’t have standing up.

8. Remember (Not) to Smile:

Some of the most captivating photos are ones where they have a natural expression. It beats a forced smile any day of the week, and in many ways, is easier and even more rewarding to capture.

What about you – any methods, tips or tricks to get great photos of your kids? Did some of these tips work? We’d love to hear from you! Share below.


Co-Written by Cris Kober and Alyssa Reaves.

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