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Tips & Tricks

Tips On How To Make The Biggest Impact When Photographing Children

By Sparkle Hill on March 26th 2015

We all spend a lot of time studying poses for all genres of photography. While I do believe posed shots are important and should be something we incorporate into our sessions, I also think that mixing a few candid shots in leaves you and your clients with images that truly represent them and their personalities. Capturing candid moments during sessions involving small children can make a huge impact on your images.


Children on the Move

I find candids especially beneficial for toddlers on the run. If you have ever photographed an energetic two-year-old, then you understand the struggle of sitting them in a posed position only to have them run away before you have time to snap the photo. I have learned that sometimes, it’s best to just let them run about and do their own thing. This is where my 70-200mm lens comes in handy. I can keep myself at a non-invasive distance, zoom in and out, and snap away.



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Unhappy Children

Candid shots can also come in handy when photographing children who are simply not in the mood for photos. Maybe they are just intimidated by a stranger taking photos of them? Or, maybe they just woke up or missed their daily nap? I suggest giving them a break and not “forcing” poses on them. Sometimes letting a sibling or parent interact with them can lead to very heartfelt images that show compassion. Just be sure to have your camera locked and loaded because these “in-between” shots can turn into cherished treasures.

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Families With Small Children

When photographing families, candid images always end up being my favorites in the galleries, especially when small children are involved. I usually give the parents or older siblings a general idea of where I want them positioned, then just have them interact as if I am not even present. These types of candid images show the playful side of families, as well as the bonds they have with one another. They show real life moments, and love just beams off of the images, making them a keeper every time!

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Photographing children requires patience, understanding, and compassion. Whether the child is overly energetic/enthusiastic, grumpy because of a missed nap, or just plain intimidated by a stranger, candids can be a life saver! Sit your camera down and interact with them to ease their fears. Let them run, sing, dance, play, and explore. That is what kids do and we should not exclude that from our sessions. Keep your distance and respect their boundaries. Photographing children requires you to think like a child. It requires you to sometimes act like a child. Keep the sessions non-intimidating and you will end up with better results.

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Sparkle Hill is a photographer based out of Canton, Georgia. She specializes in children, high school seniors, couples, and families. In early 2015, she began venturing into more artistic composites.

Sparkle strives every day to find the balance between marriage, three children, her photography career, and reaching out to advise beginning photographers however and whenever she can.

And yes, that is her real name. :)


Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Great tips

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  2. Ashutosh Nirmal

    Great tips, I’ll definitely gonna try this with my nieces.

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  3. Jody Hill

    Some good tips here! I’ll have to put them to use with my grandbabies!

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  4. J. Dennis Thomas

    Yeah, definitely best to let them do their own thing. Forcing kids into poses never works.

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  5. susan shaw

    Great article Sparkle….and awesome examples of what you do.

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  6. Linda Borrego

    Yup, photographing small children can be a challenge. I also like to take candids of them because you never really know how they’ll react to actually having their photos taken.

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  7. Brandon Dewey

    Great times and great tips!

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  8. Chris Ramsey

    Completely agree. I just had a photoshoot with a 4 year old and for the first 10 minutes he didn’t want to have anything to do with taking pictures. Only after I sat down and started to play with his planes did he decide he needed to show me how to play with them (because I was obviously not flying the ones from “Planes” correctly). After that, I couldn’t get him to stop smiling and running around. Great tips!

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