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8 Tips for Mom-a-raz-zo Photographers

n. pl. mom-a-raz-zi – A mom who doggedly pursues her children to take photos

Much like the paparazzi who have become notorious in Hollywood for stalking celebrities and making their lives miserable, I must confess that I belong to the growing community of parents who pursue, nay, stalk their children day in, day out, to take photographs. The thought of a single day, field trip or activity going undocumented simply does not bode well for me.

Photos of children are so vastly different from other types of photography. A photo of a child will always evoke emotion, no matter the quality, subject matter, composition – children are dear to every heart in some way or another so when I photograph them and approach a shot to edit, I handle each shot with sensitivity. Having taken about 30,000 photos in the past 7 years, it could be easy to become emotionless and robot-like in my approach to photography. Rather, I remain strongly connected and with deep emotion, particularly in regards to children.

Here are 8 tips I’d give any aspiring momarazzo to bump up your game:

{1. Point of View} Try a different point of view rather than the normal face-on photo. Wait until they’re doing something sweet and try a shot of what they are doing.


{2. Something to do} Hand them a toy or get them involved in an activity and wait until they’re engrossed before you start shooting.


{3. Back Off} Back up and zoom in. Children have a very good sense for when they’re being manipulated and as any parent knows, they hate to be controlled. Back up, get out of their space, zoom in and just wait.


{4. Cropping} When you crop a photo, give your subject a space to look into. If they’re facing or staring into a certain direction, give some space on that part of the photo to give the viewer a sense that they are present in the moment. It makes you wonder ‘what are they looking at?’ Don’t place your subject in the dead-center of a photo.


{5. Get sporty} Whether you use a point-and-shoot camera (the kind without changing lenses) or an SLR (the kind with changing lenses), I’ve found the sports mode the best for children. Kids move FAST and so to catch them in action requires a very fast shutter. Also on some cameras, the sports mode allows continuous shooting where you hold down the shutter button and it just snaps shot after shot in succession. Then you can pick the one that caught that perfect moment.


{6. Make them scream} Kids hate being forced to smile and quickly learn to just ’say cheese’. Tell them to scream or shout something like “NO!” or “PEE!” Anything is better than the ‘cheese face’ and shouting makes for interesting expressions.


{7. Get Down} Everyone knows that kids are little. Get down and shoot on their level. Don’t make them come up to yours. Get down on your knees or lay on your belly and see what the world looks like from there.


{8. Edit} Play with your photos. Every photo can be made a better with a bit of editing. Editing can consist of changing a photo to b&w, playing with colour levels or adding a glow (great for kids). More intensive editing can be things like texture layers, colour replacement, adding blur, selective colouring, etc. Professionals and pro-sumers use programs like Lightroom or Photoshop (you can get free trials from the Adobe website). I started out with Google’s Picasa (FREE!) program. You can download it and use to organise end edit your photos and even make slide shows to upload on YouTube or photo collages. There are quick and easy buttons to add a glow, transform the colour or bump up the saturation to make your colours more vibrant. Picasa is an excellent place to start if you want to experiment with editing your photos.


Most of all, have fun and make your own rules. Photography can be the most intensely enjoyable hobby for yourself and your fans. Get out there and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

Want more tips on photographing kids? Check out the dPS Kids Photography eBook.

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Elizabeth Halford
Elizabeth Halford

is a photographer and advertising creative producer in Orlando, FL. She wrote her first article for dPS in 2010. Her most popular one racked up over 100k shares!

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