Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses to get you Started with Photographing Children

Posing Guide: 21 Sample Poses to get you Started with Photographing Children

After our previous articles on posing female subjects and posing men (there are now more guides – see below this article for the complete series), let’s look at some starting points with photographing children. Little ones are definitely fun and very positive subjects to photograph! Getting those real and authentic emotions and showing through your pictures the joy of a childhood is a very warm and sincere feeling.

However dealing with kids sometimes can be quite challenging. You have to be ready that they often have their own thoughts on their mind and you need to be very patient and adapt to their natural behavior. Don’t assume that they will listen carefully and follow your instructions exactly. That’s why you most probably won’t be able to use these samples as posing cheat sheet. Use them rather as a reference for ideas and different scenarios for you photo shoot.

1. When photographing children, remember to shoot from their eye level! Concerning poses, though, let them be “as they are” and try to capture their natural expressions, emotions and behavior.

2. A sweet pose for kids. Get your subject to lie down on the ground and shoot from a very low angle.


3. Just another variant if your subject is lying on the ground.


4. Very sweet pose for photographing babies. Place the baby in a bed and cover it with a blanket. For best results, make sure that the colors of all the bedclothes go well together. White works well.


5. To make kids more relaxed, try to get them hug or play with their favorite teddy bear or any other toy of their choice.


6. Try taking pictures of kids in their everyday environment, for example, playing their favorite games, doing homework or as in this example, painting with watercolors. Keeping them busy in a familiar setting is a good way to get them to cooperate and to make those special poses you want.


7. It really is a good idea to set everything up so that the kid is busy with his own “things” and not even noticing your actions. Looking at a favorite picture book is just one example of how to keep them “posing” for you.


8. Be attentive and don’t miss the kids heavy laughing or loud shouting. Such situations always produce very emotional and thus rewarding shots! But, please, no staged cheese smiles! Avoid fake emotions at all costs.


9. Use some delicious food items as props. You might be able to capture very interesting moments photographing children eating some sweets, ice-cream, fruits etc.


10. Soap bubbles are simply a must-have accessory for children photography. First of all, children just love them and are really happy to blow some bubbles. Secondly, you can work creatively and find an accurate lighting settings to get beautifully illuminated bubbles as an outstanding visual hook in your photos.


11. When photographing outdoors, you can involve your subject in a hiding (actually reappearing) game. Get her to hide behind some object – a big tree for instance – and ask her to peek out of the hide-out. This is a nice moment to take a picture.


12. Playing in the sand is a very nice setting for photographing children. They can play and keep themselves busy while you just observe and take your shots while not disturbing them even one bit.


13. Try some action shots. Give your subjects a ball to play with. Then aim for an interesting perspective: Shoot from ground level while introducing the ball as a dominant foreground object.


14. When shooting children and family photos, never forget that pets are also family members. Involve them into your shots and you will notice how much joy and emotions that will create.


15. Children’s playground is a very good place for some outdoor shots, it provides endless variations for action shots.


16. If a boy or a girl is into some sports (basketball, football, tennis etc.) you can take a very special portrait of him or her with the corresponding props.


17. A very nice mother and baby pose. Mother laying on the ground with a kid on the chest. Alternatively, if the kid is still a toddler, she could hold him or her in both hands above her. And just a remark on this one and the following samples with a mother – in all of these samples the parent might as well be a father, a gender used here is only for an illustration purposes. And, of course, do involve both parents in a photo shoot, in any sample here one or both parents are more than welcome to “join into” the composition.


18. Very simple and natural pose: Mother holding her kid on the hip. Try different head positions.


19. A really touching pose. Just ask the child to hug its mother. Capture their natural emotions for a priceless photo.


20. An engaging, fun and easy pose, which is nevertheless rather uncommon and original. Ask the mother to lie down on the ground, then make the kid to sit on and hold on to the mother’s back.


21. This setting is absolutely beautiful for family portraits. Might be arranged indoors in a bed as well outdoors on the ground. Works very well in different combinations and with different numbers of subjects, adults or kids.


And on a final note, first and foremost thing to keep in mind – kids move around very fast! It’s not only the physical movement in space, but also the head, eye direction and face expressions – everything changes constantly and instantly! That means you have to choose fast enough shutter speeds in order to avoid motion blurred images. Consider forcing one or two ISO stops above “normal” to gain faster shutter speeds. And always shoot in continuous shooting mode, taking several frames in a row. The blink of an eye just takes the blink of an eye. Secure the moments before and after, too. In the age of digital cameras this costs nothing, but it can be critical for securing the best shots.


Check out our other Posing Guides:

Grab Our Guide to Portrait Posing

Kaspars Grinvalds is a photographer working and living in Riga, Latvia. He is the author of Posing App where more poses and tips about people photography are available.

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Some Older Comments

  • Al Abdon March 26, 2013 06:44 am

    Wow..great stuff...thanks for sharing

  • Average Joe December 31, 2012 02:58 am

    So thankful for this post! I'm going to take photos of a toddler for a family soon and when the mom said she would want a traditional posed photo I didn't know where to start! Thanks a lot for the great illustrations and tips!

  • maricar December 2, 2012 07:55 am

    I will be using some of these ideas this afternoon. Thanks. It is also helpful to condition the child to get the best mood and shot. I find it interesting that when you are fun and energetic, the children do follow and this is the best way to get them in the mood.

  • Taschja May 25, 2012 03:10 am

    Great! Thanks for all the info! I will use it asap!!!

  • Phil Walker May 25, 2012 01:52 am

    Groups are always problem when photographing for a 'press' pic.Some excellent ideas has mae me rethink each job in the future. Thanks. Phil Walker, Perth. UK

  • B. A. Mather May 23, 2012 09:40 pm

    These are great, here's a few of mine


  • kim May 2, 2012 04:49 pm

    her is one of my daughter at a friends party


  • kim May 2, 2012 04:05 pm

    Pic of mother and son


  • kim May 2, 2012 04:00 pm

    Pic of my boy while eating by the beach


  • Christine April 30, 2012 01:04 pm

    Is there a printable version of this?

  • KarenAnn April 29, 2012 11:26 pm

    Yes, wonderful...please do this for families/groups...am going to print out a cheat sheet for my camera bag.

  • Christine April 27, 2012 12:43 pm

    Awesome!!! Love!!! Definelty will use this, as well as the 21 men and 21 women posts.

    Do you have any for families?

  • Christine April 27, 2012 12:42 pm

    Awesome!!! Love!!! Definelty will use this, as well as the 21 men and 21 women posts. Do you have any for families?

  • CDHanan April 27, 2012 11:09 am

    THANK YOU for this series! I cannot express how helpful/useful this is. I am pretty new to portrait photography, and more than once I have found myself drawing a blank on posing.

    One thing I really struggle with is group/family portraits. Could you please add a posing guid for groups of 3 or more subjects?

  • PaulB April 25, 2012 10:05 pm

    Thanks agin, I like the line drawings. Bit like the article on female posing the otgher week :)

  • alice April 24, 2012 11:55 pm


    I tried to take a shot of my niece, and i think this is i love best.

  • Rob Littlefield April 24, 2012 04:24 am

    I am quite impressed with the" 21 sample posing guide" series (men, women, and childred) I am an Adjunct Professor at Mass Bay Community College and I teach 2 phoyography courses. I would like to use your articles as hand outs for my students. If any money is charged for this it will only be to cover costs if the administration is unwilling to cover copy costs.

    Thank You
    Professor Rob Littlefield

  • F.Zaman April 23, 2012 01:40 am

    Simple but helpful

  • David April 22, 2012 08:57 am

    Bought the app.....but these larger size points suit my iPad better! Great stuff!

  • S RoyC April 22, 2012 12:24 am


  • EnergizedAV April 21, 2012 01:54 am

    Good examples, thankyou,
    The most fun I have is photographing kids with my photo partner/wife. What works for me is being the model that the child can immitate. At my age I can't tell you how many times my knees blew out. But the reward is priceless when the child gets a picture that makes them feel good about themselves.

  • Mary April 21, 2012 01:45 am

    Thanks for all these great ideas! I have two boys, a 14-month-old, and a 2.5-year-old. They move a LOT and are generally uncooperative, so I'll be anxious to try some of these ideas. :)

  • Egle April 20, 2012 10:42 pm

    These are really handy! Thank you so much for sharing, can't wait to put theory into practice :)

  • Lori Fisher April 20, 2012 10:42 pm

    Would love to see actual pictures of these poses.

  • Rob Habisreitinger April 20, 2012 10:13 pm

    Ooopsy "Check out our Other Posing Guides in this Series"

    probably meant

  • Pete Wendt April 20, 2012 04:55 pm

    Thanks as always!
    Those are always great ideas for us!

  • Elizabeth April 20, 2012 12:19 pm

    Hello, This is a great post! I have 3 kids so it is always good to try new poses, if you can get them to try them.
    Thanks for the information.


  • raghavendra April 20, 2012 12:10 pm

    I have recently taken a picture of children feeding the goat.


  • Kevin April 20, 2012 11:29 am

    With the recent knack for kids portraits I've been doing lately (which you can see at my facebook page: http://facebook.com/kevinthaiphotos ) I've decided to hone in and focus on natural portraiture and this guide is going to be really handy. In fact I read the other articles too with the sample posing images and now you've convinced me to go and buy the app for my phone from the app store.

    Excellent article!

  • Denise Mauzy April 20, 2012 10:45 am

    I really love your posing series. It would be really helpful if there were a way to print out a single sheet with all the poses on it, to carry along as a guide. Thank you!

  • Santosh April 20, 2012 10:23 am


    A scene in a park one spring evening

  • michael April 20, 2012 09:40 am

    great ideas

  • Oscar April 20, 2012 09:30 am

    Great post!!!!!

  • Robert Hall April 20, 2012 09:14 am

    Very nice series on posing. Love the illustrations. Thank-you!

  • Metaphase April 20, 2012 07:03 am

    I have the most experience with kids since I have two of my own. I just posted a few from the last couple of weeks on my blog. Check out the kid pics at www.metaphase.wordpress.com

  • Lara White April 20, 2012 06:17 am

    Kaspars, I just wanted to say I am a big fan of your series. I LOVE the way the illustrations remove all distractions from the concept-lighting, clothing, lens choice, expression, hair color, background etc. etc. that would typically distract a photographer from just the pose itself. Excellent sharing, thank you!

  • Pattabi April 20, 2012 05:56 am

    I was trying my new 70-200 and when I turned around to keep an eye on my toddler, I caught her in this action.
    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/pattabi/3996027835/' title='img_001' url='http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2511/3996027835_5d61f086d9.jpg']

  • Ashiq P.M. April 20, 2012 05:12 am

    Its fun to snap kids in their natural manner.


  • Grendel Khan April 20, 2012 04:40 am

    Perhaps zooming in is also an option. Most of these are at a distance. My son:


  • Ana Elisa April 20, 2012 03:40 am

    Very helpful.
    Thank you.

  • steve slater April 20, 2012 02:44 am

    I like to capture natural poses.
    This is one from a fiesta in Spain. A natural religious pose without asking:


  • Anil April 20, 2012 02:34 am

    Really a good informative article . Children portrait photography is truly tricky & tips given in this are very useful.

  • ramy April 20, 2012 02:29 am

    Extremely helpful illustration. Just what I was looking for. I will try out each. Thanks a ton.

  • HOOP April 20, 2012 02:12 am

    So, what's next, Kaspars: Posing Possums?

  • Mridula April 20, 2012 02:11 am

    Here is one of a child that I took by accident. I was clicking this heap of Litchi when this boy looked out from behind the heap!


  • Danielle April 20, 2012 01:39 am

    Awesome tips. Very meaningful for those who are starting. Thanks a lot :)

  • Steve April 20, 2012 01:28 am

    Thank you so much for the whole "sample pose" series! Tremendously helpful!