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Tips & Tricks

10 Tips On Photographing Kids | Karl Taylor

By Hanssie on June 26th 2016

Photographing kids can be a fun, crazy, wonderful, and utterly exhausting experience for all involved (except the kids!). These cute, squirrely, bundles of energy can give you a run for your money – literally – or can be shy and quiet, hiding behind mom until you coax them to warm up. Photographing kids is quite the adventure and with a few tips, you can make each session a wonderful experience for all.

In the following video, we go behind the scenes with Karl Taylor as he photographs two gorgeous, energetic children in a field of yellow wildflowers. The 10-minute video gives some great general tips for photographing children, and can used with most kids no matter age of your subjects.



1. Tell The Kids Exactly What You Had In Mind

Before the shoot began, Karl told the kids the vision he had in mind for the image in “kid” terms. Communicate what you want and have the kids work with you to create it before you begin shooting.

2. Bring An Assistant

An assistant is great for not only holding the reflector, but they can help you direct and corral the rambunctious kids for those static shots!

3. Use A Long Lens

Karl uses a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 in this video to compress perspective and “squash” all the flowers together. At one point, he also used a Canon 2x Extender (which he later removed for the action shots). Throughout the shoot, Karl also had on a polarizing filter to cut glare and saturate the colors more.

Using a long lens can also be less obtrusive, allowing the children to forget that the camera is on them and will give them space to play and act like kids, which will give you what you want to capture.

4. Shoot On Their Level

When photographing kids, get down low to the level. You’ll see the world from their perspective and get a great angle for your shots.

5. Look TO Capture The Spontaneity

Kids don’t sit still very long, so aim to capture the spontaneous moments and expressions. These usually make the best shots and the ones that mom loves the most because it encapsulates their youth and personality.


6. Keep The Shoot Brief

Again, children have a short attention span. You have a narrow window of time where you have their attention before they are running off being kids.

7. Keep It Fun

Allow the kids to have fun during the shoot. If you force them to sit still too long, they will rebel and you’ll have grumpy kids, grumpy parents and a grumpy photographer!

8. Give Them Clear Direction

In the video, Karl constantly gives them autonomy to be kids and run around, but in the midst of that, he is giving them clear posing cues – what to do with their hands, where to look, etc.

9. Praise Often

Make sure you are constantly praising them and showing them you are pleased with what they are doing. Everyone loves to hear praise, especially children.

10. Capture Them Playing

Some of the best pictures are not the static posed kind, but the ones where they are playing, laughing, goofing around and comfortable. Let them play and then grab that 70-200mm lens and shoot away.

For more from Karl Taylor, check out his website and YouTube.


What are some of your best tips for photographing kids? Comment below.

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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Benni Klomfass

    “Keep the shoot brief” – already before starting, it could help much more to talk to them in their language and not about “trying to get some romantic shots”…

    Authentic shots would be also to have some of the yellow flowers in their hands and not some other colored ones that are obviously not from there.

    While talking he missed the best spontaneous shots of them as they weren’t given any directions, and also not only mom should love them , you as a photographer should too.

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