Simple Tips for Photographing Children

Simple Tips for Photographing Children



Photographing children can be incredibly rewarding; they often seem to be at their most charismatic and spontaneous when a camera is present. Ask a child to look into the camera and you probably won’t be surprised to see them pull a weird face or stick their tongue out. But one thing is for certain; you will get some wonderful photos, which can add another element to your travel photography portfolio.

Here are some simple tips to help you when photographing children.

Always ask permission

Always ask permission from their parents if they are around. Take the time to explain why you are photographing them and what the images might be used for. You could also offer to send the parents a copy of the photo via email for their use, and if possible ask them to sign a model release form. If the parent or guardian refuses, respect their decision and move on.

Get down to their level

If you want to capture great photos of children, get down to their level. Not only will you see the world from their eyes, but also ensure your photos feel intimate and personal. Try not to stand over top of them looking down, and as always focus, on the eyes to keep them sharp. If you use a wide aperture (f/2 – f/5.6) that should give you a blurred background, which will pull the viewer into the child’s face.


A wide aperture helps to blur the background and draw focus to the child’s face.

Be patient

Unfortunately, anyone who has ever tried to take photos of young children knows that getting them to stand still can be incredibly difficult. So, you have to be patient and wait for the right opportunity. If they have other kids around them they might be distracted, so be patient and try to make the experience fun. For example, showing them their photo can make the whole thing more enjoyable and they might be willing to give you more of their time and be co-operative.


These kids were so excited that they kept moving. It took a while to get them all to stand still.

Faster shutter speed

Photographing children while they are playing can give you the most natural images. But, if you are going to be capturing them playing or moving around, you will need a faster shutter speed to avoid your subject being blurred (unless you are looking to capture the movement and want some blur). You should be looking at 1/200th of a second or faster to avoid too much movement.


Kids tend move around quickly so if you want to freeze the action use a fast shutter speed.

Put them in context

It’s a big world for a child and sometimes showing kids in context can give the viewer a sense of what children see and feel, so think about their surroundings. Are they standing next to a giant statue? Or walking next to an enormous dog? These sorts of images can look extraordinary and give your portfolio variety.


The child in this shot emphasizes how small she is in comparison to the tall trees.

Photographing kids can be incredibly challenging but when you get it right it can offer some wonderfully light hearted and emotional images. So make sure you keep your eyes peeled for rare opportunities.

Now it’s your turn. Share your photos, thoughts and tips below.

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category

Kav Dadfar is a professional travel photographer based in the UK. His images are represented by stock agencies such as 4Corners Images and Robert Harding World Imagery and they have been used by clients such as Condé Nast, National Geographic, Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, American Express, and many others. Kav also leads photo tours around the world teaching people how to improve their photography. Join him on his 11 day epic photo tour of Scotland. Find out more at Scotland Photo Tour

  • Great article and agree however sometimes standing over the kids can make for an awesome shot (Like one of my shots below)

  • Carrie Walker

    Some of my shots

  • Guest

    One of my pic of a boy at Banganga ,Mumbai,India

  • Mohd Kamran

    very nice article ….
    one of my click….

  • Kav Dadfar

    Lovely moment captured! Nice work.

  • Kav Dadfar

    As with all rules, sometimes it’s good to break them. Nice work.

  • Kav Dadfar

    No picture. Upload it again as I love seeing other people’s work

  • Kav Dadfar

    Great moments captured. Nice work. Try adding a but more contrast in post.

  • Blaine

    I have also broken the rules with not standing above, though I wish she had raised her head a little more when I said her name. She is a little stubborn when it comes to pictures. 😛

  • Blaine

    Sorry, here’s the picture:

  • Guest

    Pic i clicked of my daughter…

  • Suzanne

    Give them something to do/hold…signs, bubbles, toys!

  • D’Anne Goldstein

    Here’s one I took of my granddaughter while she was playing at the park.

  • sata

    shots with canon 6D 24-105MM lens,F4,5 S100 32mm

  • Ko Ko

    Shoot by Canon 600D

  • Pravin Dwiwedi

    Nice Explanation…

    Here are some more tips I found beneficial

  • Pravin Dwiwedi

    From a blog..

  • dan

    this is my shot with my daughter when she is 10month she is 1 yr old and 6 months

  • Tippi

    I haven’t done much photos with kids but I find that if they are doing something, it is easier to photograph them….Tippi

  • KKGSupermom

    I love doing action shots of kids just enjoying life (I get plenty of chances to since I am the photographer at a youth camp every summer).

  • Kav Dadfar

    You have a host of models as well wonderful opportunities for photos. Keep snapping. Good work.

  • Kav Dadfar

    Yes, it takes time and patience to get kids to stand still!

  • Kav Dadfar

    Beautiful photo, wonderfully lit and composed (and a cute baby). Good work!

  • Kav Dadfar

    Great moment. Well done.

  • Kav Dadfar

    Lovely shot. Great work!

  • Kav Dadfar

    Nice work and well done on controlling the highlights and shadows. Not easy on days like that when the sun is bright and you are photographing an area with high contrast.

  • Kav Dadfar

    What a lovely moment, captured her mood brilliantly.

  • Kav Dadfar

    Yes, good tip. Bubbles are a great tool. They can easily hold their attention and look great in photos.

  • Kav Dadfar

    What kid isn’t stubborn?? But this is nice. The key thing is that the eyes are sharp so it works. Good work.

  • Kav Dadfar

    No picture…

  • Ivona Kostyra

    My baby girl

  • Ivona Kostyra

    Love the smile

  • Kav Dadfar

    Hi Ivona

    Nice work. Love the one with her walking away into the woods.


  • Ivona Kostyra

    My latest

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