Tips for taking great kids portraits

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Photographs are memories frozen for posterity. In later years, they are a source of fond remembrance – and taking them is a great way to spend time with the kids.

Children are vain creatures and enjoy being clicked immensely – especially if the photographer is ready to be a bit adventurous. However, we often end up with blurred, darkened and generally disappointing photographs. Here are a few hints and tips for taking great children’s portraits.

Study Your Camera

It is not necessary to own the latest state-of-the art camera to click truly wonderful shots. Even a everyday camera, without the benefit of advanced features, like a zoom lens, can be used to capture lovely pictures.

However, it is important to know each of the features available with your particular model. This will enable you to make the most of it. So, get that manual out and go through it end to end. Once you are familiar with the theory, take out the camera and get to know the various buttons and controls.


Kids love to dress up. Add plenty of props like hats, shawls, stoles guns, big stuffed toys, baskets and flowers. It is amazing how the kids react to such stuff, and how uniquely kids deal with different objects.

For a successful shoot, do not just aim for stiff, smiling pictures – instead, try to capture a wide range of emotions and situations.

Be Invisible

Put a dressed-up children in front of a camera and they are bound to act up. You end up with lousy photographs and a sullen children. Try candid photography instead – catch your kids unawares.

Take the picture while the child is engrossed in some activity or game. Zoom lenses are great for this, but you can get good results without one, too. Try talking with the kid about the activity – this will distract her attention from the camera and focus her totally on the activity at hand.

Improve On The Background

  • Many a good shot is ruined by a mismatched background. Before clicking, ensure that it is perfect.
  • The background should not blend in with the child’s dress.
  • Colors in sharp relief yield good results
  • Ensure that you do not catch household clutter or the uninspiring refrigerator
  • Try turning the camera vertically for a better angle. If you cannot move the child, try changing the angle.

Get In Close

Again – a well-composed portrait should be filled by the subject, not the surrounding background. Try taking close-ups for inspired shots – remember, the child or children should fill the complete frame. When clicking a child, bend down to her level for better shots.

This will also get rid of the unnecessary background that may detract from the picture. However, check with the manual for the minimum permissible distance – avoid taking photographs too close. This will result in blurred and distorted pictures.

Close-ups can create inspired portraits of your child

Be Natural

Clicking children in their comfort zones, surrounded by toys, getting out of the den, reading a book, is a sure way of generating endearing picture. The child is usually very comfortable in such circumstances, and therefore makes an excellent subject.

You can get better pictures this way than by posing a child all dressed up in her Sunday best – so do not always aim for a spruced-up child. Down and dirty can be even more evocative at times.

Get Outdoors

Pictures look much better in sunlight than in artificial lighting. However, if outdoor shots are backlit, you end up with dark faces and a lovely, bright sky. To avoid this problem, don’t take pictures at mid day, when the sun is at the brightest.

Ensure that the child is facing the light rather that with his back to it. If this is unavoidable, use your flash or place a white card next to the camera to reflect the light. Some cameras have backlight features to avoid this predicament.

Position Yourself Strategically

Placement is very important while clicking a picture. Keep the camera lens at the child’s height. Remember, it is always better to position yourself in front rather than at the side while taking an action shot. The light should fall on the subjects face for clear and bright photos.

Now you’re all ready to put your best shot forward and capture some lovely memories of your child.