How to Photograph Children

July 7, 2016

Our 2 year old grandson and 11 month old granddaughter spent last weekend with us.  Their Mom asked me if I would dress them in the cute red, white, and blue clothing she bought them, and take some photos of them.  “Sure,” I replied, “No problem.”

Whatever was I thinking?

I didn’t have a crew to help with posing.  I had no one to hold a reflector for lighting.  I didn’t have time to adjust my camera settings between shots.  I had 2 squirmy children who didn’t want their picture taken, and 1 husband who was standing by to catch Ella if she started to fall out of the wagon.

I simply had to SNAP and hope I got something halfway decent.

The first picture was “okay.”  But I wanted something better. Something spectacular. Something that would make my efforts worthy of being asked to be the photographer for the day.

That didn’t happen.  The first shot, while by no means spectacular, was the best. Then the posing quickly disintegrated.  Take a look………


And that was the end of the photograp session.  About as long as it took you to scroll through these photos.  My husband picked up a crying baby girl, and I asked Owen if I could take a picture of him sitting on a little stool nearby.  He didn’t want to, but he did crawl up on the stool for me.  He just wasn’t going to smile.

I was shooting with the bright sunlight in the background, and I knew the picture wouldn’t be good – but I also knew that I could post-process it in Photoshop and, perhaps, get something decent.

Owen kept his eyes closed, and tried his best NOT to smile.  😉

orig at 72dpi

With a little more preparation and help, could I have done better during this 2 minute photo shoot?  I would like to think so.  I’m keeping this article handy for the next time:  How to Photograph Children.   (Boy, I have a lot to learn!)

I definitely have a new respect for photographers who specialize in children’s portraits.

(Come back tomorrow to see how I edited this dark photo in Photoshop to make it at least worthy of keeping.




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  1. Glori2

    Love the story… Looking forward to seeing the edited photo!

  2. Kathleen Sakorafos

    I can so relate, it takes a few hundred pictures for 1 or 2 keepers, children are the hardest to get.

  3. Dels PSP Emporium

    OMGosh, and I thought I was soooo alone in this! A lot of my pictures of my grandson show him in a funny face because that’s what he does. Rarely can I get him to give me a natural/normal smile. Now he is 9 and just does not want to be bothered with “me and my camera”! And yes, I take 15-20 pictures to get 1-2 good ones. This was a cute article Karen and I am sure a huge amount of grandmothers can relate! You did a great job with the 2 children and I’ve seen the fixed photo of Owen and it came out really well! Hugs,

  4. Carol

    Oh my gosh, Karen these two little grandchildren of yours are so adorable. Seeing how Owen is holding onto his baby sister reminds me of Jack and how he always seems to hold onto Catherine around the neck even to this day. I wonder if they do that because they saw how their babies were held when they first came home and Mom was so careful to hold the back of the head until the baby could do so by herself. I love all of your photos; they seem to capture the little ones so great with their various facial expressions. Really love how you captured just how beautiful their eyes are. Really love Owen’s picture that you had to edit. He looks like such a cutie and one who likes to likes to tease his grandma.

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