Photo tips for working with children

    Simple Photo Tips with Children

I have true admiration and respect for photographers, they are down on their hands and knees to get the right angle, they work weekends, they tote around awkward equipment and props, they often work in inclement weather, and yet  they still manage to take that one perfect shot despite a child  crying throughout an entire session.

They earn every dollar during a session but for those of us on a tight budget (or perhaps if you have a creative streak) it’s satisfying to take photos independently.

I’ve managed to amass more than a few photos over the years and my formal training includes a lot of reading manuals, web searching, and of course, Pinterest!

For those that don’t have the time or energy to do their own research, I wanted to post a few helpful hints that have worked for me and to show examples.

Please note, all photos used on this post are reserved exclusively for use by  Please do not duplicate or use these photos without my express written consent.  I appreciate it!

You do not need a fancy camera

Many of my pictures are taken on an  IPhone 6. The convenience of the phone and the free editing applications (Color Splash, Split Lens, Filters) has replaced my traditional camera usage. I can edit on a long car trip while my husband drives or on a break at work.

Unexpected Locations

You would be surprised what your local park has to offer in regards to unique shots. Tubing works great. ‘Peek’ at your child through another object for a unique perspective. Capture a shadow.

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I went under a bridge at the park (my husband was up top with the kids) to get these shots…


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Use an Editing App

Often, one simple change can make the picture ‘pop.’   It’s easy to become overzealous using filters or special effects, they may not translate the best at the photo lab, so heed caution.

When in doubt, edit a picture, write down which combination you used, and have only a few prints made.This will save you money and from wasting pictures you do not use.

Filters App. Same picture, Different Filter. Can you guess which one is the original? Yes, she ate dirt.

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The image on the left has a textured overlay on it. The picture on the right is the original. The textured overlay did not quite work in this situation.  It had a vintage feel and this was not the correct shot for a vintage look.

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Color Splash App. Converted to black and white and added splash of red color. My husband really wanted blacks and reds in his entertainment room, so I had these blown up to 8 x 10’s and framed.

Birthday boy. 3 Years.  image

Filters App. Applied a ‘monochromatic’ filter, then added a ‘color boost’ back into the picture. The picture on the left is a ‘cool’ filter. The picture on the right I used a ‘warm’ filter.

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Split Lens App.  You can take a serious of otherwise semi-lackluster photos  and splice them together. None of the individual shots were too stunning, but  as a photo collage the pictures work better.


I left one image monochromatic, added a splash of color to one image, and left one completely in color (softening the colors slightly). I did the coloring in one app and  used another app to make the collage.

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Once I plopped my daughter down into her laundry basket so she would ‘stay put’ momentarily while I threw  laundry in the dryer. She looked so darn cute!  I grabbed my phone and we moved into the kitchen for some better lighting and I got this shot.

My kids love playing with plastic totes and cardboard boxes. Get one out, see what they do, and snap a few pictures.

Baby in a Basket!

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Sneak Attack

My brother was married this summer and my mother took these pictures while essentially ‘spying’ on a walk they took down the path at the golf resort.

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Angles can make a Big Difference

By changing my angle on this shot it turned into a much better perspective. The picture on the left I was sitting on the couch. The picture on the right I was down on the floor.



Change your Focus

For unique perspectives, adjust your subject and what you are focusing on.

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Get Dirty!

I was literally on my side and in the dirt when I took these pictures of my daughter in our garden. The picture on the left has filters and sun

Garden Angel.  image

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Top down, from the side, from behind

Some of my favorites pictures are from behind or from the side.

image  Thick as Thieves II.

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I was so excited to have captured this reflection!

Another Earth. image

Black and White to Hide Imperfections

I found her like this one morning but in order not to wake her I didn’t bother moving the clutter in the background. The black and white conversion hides the distracting clutter, but still captures the moment.



And sometimes black and white is not better…

You miss the rainbow colors by changing this photo to black and white. I didn’t like some of the shadows from the trees, which is why I experimented with the change to  black and white but the color photo is so much cuter since she is ‘pointing’ at the rainbow.

Special themed events at your local zoo or children’s museum could lead to some really great photos.

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Simple DIY Props

I made the book ‘covers’ with construction paper and listed classic children’s books names on them. The ‘fox’ ears were on clearance at a retail store, cardboard, scrapbook paper, and press on flowers for the signs. I safety pinned some cheap brown felt to a bib for her ‘fox’ fur.

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The mustache is a sticker, suspenders from a consignment shop, and the sign is cardboard with a few metal stars hanging from twine, a strip of colored masking tape, and some taped on letters. imageimage

Flower as a prop. I experimented with a few filters here also…

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Miniature watering can from a flea market spray painted red. It was only $2!

Garden fairy. Photo Practice.



Cake as a prop! Yummy. Give them a large slice of cake or a plate full of cookies and go outside!

Failures often turn into successes (props continued)

These are part of a long week of evening photo sessions I took with the kids for a surprise Father’s Day gift. We had about an hour each day to do these in secret.

Note the props in the second picture. Her crown is construction paper, the ‘oar’ is a wrapping paper tube, and their ‘boat’ is a tote. The ‘sea’ is blue poster board. We used my son’s Jake toy pirate props.

These two pictures are my husband’s favorites and neither of them are  smiling. What I thought was an initial failure turned into a success!
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Factor in their preferences

She hated bows or anything on her head for the longest time. She was easier to photograph without the bows or ribbons. I let her lead the way and took much better shots this way.

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Try, Try again.

This is a failed picture from the Father’s Day project. Lighting was horrible, too many stuffed animals, and an uncooperative little boy….


but two months later I got these gems of my daughter. Less animals, only one child. I was determined to get this concept photographed even if with only one child.


Made with Font Candy editing app. If you pay $.99 you can edit without their logo displaying on your photos.


You do not have to crop so every person is centered. Crop out what does not belong, such as a fence, house, or someone’s arms.

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Take Action Shots Outdoors

I get horrible action shots inside, even if I use a flash. Again, I’m using an Iphone so outdoor lighting is key to get the best action shots.

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Tiny hands and feet

I have a small obsession photographing their little hands and feet! They make great  ‘artsy’ photos for around the house. Black and white always wins. Let the kids get dirty, play in sugar, flour or icing, prop their hands on a pretty pillow, snap a picture while they nap.

imageBaby hand.


Beach Feet.Hands and feet.



Subjects do not have to look at the camera.

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Grandparents as subjects

 There is nothing like a grandparent reading to their grandchild or holding them tight.

The photo on the left I used an Instagram filter to soften the edges of the photo. The photo on the right was better in black and white (their shirt colors mismatched).

Lifelong Reading pals.  image

I could keep you here forever sharing my favorite photos. Thank you for taking a trip down memory lane with me.  I hope you get to try a few ideas from this post soon!

Photos make excellent and affordable holiday gifts.  Retail stores that develop pictures or online sites often run specials on enlargements and canvas prints around the holidays.

Please note, any affiliate links I may receive compensation. It helps me to fund the running of this site and will not affect your prices!

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