3 Photography Tips for Parents


December 6, 2012 by CassieCravings


I am by no means a photographer. However, I adore pictures and taking them. Even more so, I adore pictures of my kid.

Every day that I am behind the camera, I am not only learning about lighting and composition but about how to capture true-to-kid images of my child. I want to capture his happy side, his shy side, his mischievous side and every other side that build to make my little guy exactly who he is. My goal is to get a shot that lets my son shine. Showing off those curls and big brown eyes certainly doesn’t hurt either!

I still have a ton to learn, but I want to pass along 3 tip that I have picked up along my mamarazzi journey.


1. Give as little direction as possible. 


I find it incredibly tempting to over-direct my child. However, my child is not a professional model, and I certainly am not a professional photographer. Limited direction is directly correlated with limited stress.

Bottom Line: Let you child be free to be exactly who he/she is. This allow the opportunity for the most candid and the most true-to-child shots. Will you end up with a plethora of blurry shots and empty frames? Absolutely. I just chalk it up to part of the memory-making process.

When direction is needed, tweaking your language can have a huge impact on compliance and the joy in compliance. For example, instead of instructing your child to “Look up.”,saying “How many clouds do you see?” brings fun to the session.

Try a few posed shots, and then see what happens when you allow your child to take the lead.


2. Capture the moment, not the perfect shot. 

Again, guilty. I’m sure you’ve done it too. You saw the cutest Christmas card on Pinterest, and now you just HAVE to have that particular shot. My advice is to try your child’s own interpretation of the shot, instead of copying it exactly . Sure, that kid on Pinterest may have sat stoically with ankles crossed in that brightly colored Queen Anne’s chair in the middle of the woods. My kid? My kid would rather hang upside down on the chair with his feet in the air and hands dangling to the ground.

Don’t get so caught up in the perfect shot that you miss the opportunity to capture the essence of your child.


3. Be real. 

The perfect backdrop with the perfect prop and the perfect outfit is a wonderful treat. But don’t wait until your little one is dressed in his/her Sunday best to try to get that perfect picture.


You will notice that these shots are of my son in his play clothes in our back yard. The backdrop isn’t beautiful. His hair is a mess. He has a scratch next to his eye. And he’s wearing Alabama gear…while I may say, “Roll Tide!” right about now, my husband is groaning for his lack of Texas apparel. But that’s all okay. This was about an afternoon of play time with my son. This was about how excited he was to climb on top of the see-saw and about how many times he could race down the slide in a matter of a few minutes.



There is a time and a place for the best directed, perfect and set up shot, but don’t wait for those times. Take advantage of the moment and capture who your child is today.


10 thoughts on “3 Photography Tips for Parents

  1. I needed to hear those yesterday, when we had a (disastrous) Christmas photo shoot… 🙂

    • mamacravings says:

      We have had several disastrous shoots. I like to get the photographers “meltdown policy” before booking 😀

      Thankfully when my brother shoots us, it is just understood that if I say there will be another one on another day, then there will be. I’m the big sister after all 😉

  2. Sarah says:

    Awesome advice! And it’s so great to be able to take digital photos, unlike our parents… you can snap a billion and not have to pay to see them. Your odds of getting a good shot go way up! 😉

  3. Great tips! I think the “less than perfect” shots that show our kids in their favorite but worn and maybe not perfectly matched clothing, with their hard won scratches or bruises showing will most likely be our favorites when our children are grown. They show life as it really happens in the trenches of day to day living, and that beats an unreal and idealized pose and setting any day! I love the little, real-life details of life with my little guy, even if it can be a bit messy 🙂

  4. xo Dee says:

    “capture who your child is today”, perfectly said!

  5. beadstork says:

    Hooray for you! I agree totally. When I was a kid, picture taking meant hair brushed, good clothes on, stiff posture, and a fake smile plastered all over your face. I hated it and the pictures were never any good. I just shoot kids now trying to avoid them even noticing that I’m there.

    • mamacravings says:

      Exactly. I have found that when I make him pose or make him sit still for longer than he is designed to do, then the pics are stiff and forced. They don’t capture who my kid is. Every now and then it’s nice to get him smiling at the camera, but it’s a much better picture when he is laughing at the caterpillar tickling his hand or smiling because he’s having a blast 🙂

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