Wigiwama’s Guide to Photographing Children in 8 Easy Steps

Photographing children isn’t an easy task. There are many photographers out there who dedicate their careers to photographing children because it is such a skill! But, we can’t all afford to have a professional come to every party, event and milestone in our children’s lives. The likelihood is you’ve stumbled across our post because you want to be taking the best photos of your little ones when the professional isn’t around. So keep reading for our best tips for not missing a moment!


1. They’re going to do what they’re going to do

If you want to get the best photographs possible, you’ll want to remove your thinking on what this ideal is. The best photos of children you’ve seen across the internet that you would love of your own are likely to be by professionals working with very very cooperative children. In the real world there are tantrums and upset and nothing ever really goes the way you truly want it to. But, they’re our or your children and that means it’s okay. They’re going to do whatever they want and we either work with this or against it. We promise that just allowing things to happen naturally and working with what they want to do will give you a better outcome and a more peaceful time when trying to photograph your children.  

2. The Generational difference

For those who grew up as digital cameras were being developed, you’ll understand this entirely. When cameras were made accessible to the majority and started moving into homes across the country, there was still a hesitancy about taking photos. People were excited to be able to document every part of life, but there remained a shyness about being in front of the camera. Now, with smartphones and front-facing cameras, most people are pretty at home with taking photos and having photos taken of themselves. But don’t forget, although your little one has grown up with you taking photos, you’re still ‘hiding’ behind an object and you’ll often put distance between you and them to create your ideal image. Making sure they’re used to this and feel comfortable will reflect and completely elevate your photos! 

3. Go low or go home 

Perspective can completely change your photos for the better. Shooting from your normal height looking down at your children shortens them, gives you less opportunity to include your location and gives the person viewing your photo an impression of overbearing them. Coming down to the same level as your child makes them more comfortable affording you to take more natural pictures, keeps them to proportional accuracy and when shooting outdoors, lets you get more of the setting and environment in. 

Keep things comfortable for you and your little one with some of our seating range that can give you some unique positioning for you to photograph from and let your child play with some unusual angles!

4. Expression and position is key 

Everybody say cheese; or not as the case may be! We’ve always been told to shout cheese at the camera because the movement to pronounce this makes us appear with a smile. But these images are becoming something of the past. With the ability to take hundreds of pictures a day, we can now capture adventures and home life in more detail. We’ll keep the cheese smiles but add in some contextual images too. This could be the little frown that happens when an ice cream is nearly finished or running into the ocean. The centred portrait has its place but can be made even more beautiful surrounded by a variety of other images. 


pink teepee

5. Composition of lines

Any search of photography techniques will take you step by step through composition rules. One to focus on is leading lines. You want the focus to be on your child that’s on the frame, but you’re considering mixing up from the traditional portrait. Looking at the environment and how you can position yourself and them to get other intersecting lines to point at them, will direct your viewer’s eye. This in combination with selective colours and other rules can take your family photos to the next level. 

Check out our Teepees for adding some unique shapes to your images!

6. Lucky you - you’ve got a digital camera!

Practice is key with any skill you want to improve. With the digital age, we can now take as many photos as we like and then choose what we believe is our best out of these. This affords you the opportunity to experiment with new techniques (if your little ones are feeling cooperative and non-fidgety for a moment!) But whether they move or not, if it’s not the perfect image, it doesn’t matter. This relaxed approach to photography can and want to experiment will again hugely change your images for the better. 

If you’re struggling to keep little ones focused, consider introducing something new or even something like a Playmat to challenge them to stay in one specific area!

7. Light

Thinking about the light sources will make your photos look considered as if from a photographers perspective. Where the light hits the face and how you use that light to your advantage will illuminate your subject and bring that quality focus. Asking your child to move their body and turn into the light or even experimenting with backlighting can not only be great fun but make that distinct difference you’re looking for. This can be just with natural light but it’s also worth considering implementing warm or cool-toned light!

8. Editing software is your friend

There is a small stigma around editing photos of children. With how dramatically photos can be manipulated by software, it’s always advisable to do less than more (and it’s incredibly easy to get carried away!) But editing can make a difference. With a little drop of the shadows and an increase in highlights, your image takes on a new life. Filters can be programmed for adults to smooth skin, enlarge eyes, whiten teeth and everything in between. Even filters that don’t look like they do, if they’re pre-programmed, could have these measures in place. Starting from scratch allows you to have complete control so nothing is changing your child that you don’t know about - we promise editing software isn’t as daunting as you think!

The best tips to take away are to make sure your children are relaxed around the camera and you are too. If you’re having fun, all these things will naturally fall into place. You’ll get some amazing expressions, beautiful documentary pieces and you’ll easily experiment away from the traditional photograph to make your albums unlike anyone else’s!