How to Capture that Smile: 5 Tips to Help You Take Better Photos of your Children

Guest Blog by Melissa Gray-Peters, Founder of Melissa Gray-Peters Photography

As a family photographer, I'm often asked by parents how they can take better photos of their own kids. The good news is that you definitely don't need a fancy camera to get some great shots. I've put together five tips below that can be applied to any camera, even to your smart phones!

Tip 1: Watch the Light

In order to take flattering photos, you need to think about your light source. If you're outdoors, this will be the sun, so avoid shooting in the very middle of the day as this can create unflattering shadows when it's high in the sky. If this can't be helped, look for an area of shade which will provide some nice even light on your children's faces, or try to shoot them with their backs to the sun so you don't end up with everyone squinting at the camera. For in-home photos, choose a bright time of day, turn off all artificial lights and shoot close to a window or open door for lovely soft light. And if you're using a smart phone, be sure to use the in-camera exposure setting to make sure that your child (the subject of your photo) is exposed correctly and not too dark or too light.

Tip 2: Be Aware of Your Location

If you want your child to be the focus of the photo, you'll want to avoid distractions behind them like messy locations or crowded playrooms which will draw the eye away. Plain and simple backdrops with uniform colours like walls or windows are often a good bet indoors. If you're outdoors then parks, fields or beaches can provide lovely natural backdrops, or a funky brick or brightly painted wall can also be great fun. Similarly think about what outfit they're wearing, as clashing colours or large logos and patterns will quickly overtake the photos. Obviously kids often have their own ideas on what clothes they want to wear, so sometimes it's just better to wait for a time when they're wearing something that works well on camera, but is still uniquely them!

Tip 3: Get Down to Their Level

For natural photos of your children, think about the angle you're shooting them from. Bending or crouching down to their level will create a sense of intimacy and connection in the photos. Most smart phones can create distortion if you get too up close and personal though, as the lenses are naturally wide, so make sure you're still keeping a flattering distance.

Tip 4: Don't Pose Them

This is a big one! For authentic photos that capture your child's personality, avoid asking them to look at the camera and smile. Not only will this put them under pressure, but it's unlikely to result in natural looking photos. It's often better to observe them and play with them, then when the time and setting are right to pull your camera out and snap away. You might even find that this way you get a far more relaxed 'smile at the camera' shot than if you'd tried to pose them in the first place.

Tip 5: Have Fun!

The best thing about taking photos of your own children is that there aren't any time limits. If one shot doesn't work, you can always try again the next day, so don't put yourself under any pressure. Experiment with different things and you'll be sure to find something that works for you. And remember, the best way to get your kids smiling and having fun is to have fun with them yourself - and that way everyone's a winner!

About the author:

Melissa Gray-Peters is a North London Family Photographer working with relaxed families to create beautiful, organic images.

Instagram: @melissagraypeters

Facebook: Melissa Gray-Peters Photography


In other news,

Today marks the launch of the Isabella & Us Christmas Gift Guide 2020, and I am pleased as punch to be featured. You can find out more about the wonderful small businesses taking part and see my own entry (under the gifts for dads section) and shop small this Christmas. You will find some truly unique gifts and be supporting someone's dream (like mine!) at the same time.

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead,

Best Wishes,


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