So you want to create great photographs of your children but don’t know where to start? It seems all of the tips you can find on the internet tell you to ‘get down to the child’s leve’ or ‘forget the smile’ or ‘show your child in action’, all of which are nice but not very specific.

I was working with my husband (who wants to take some pictures of airplanes) and I suddenly realized that most parents think about our children as a whole unit rather than thinking about the parts and pieces. In other words, we are always thinking about photographing our child head to foot and not parts like their eyes or hands. That’s a mistake!

Think Small

An interesting blog post I made recently was called “Little Hands, Little Feet”. In this case I was intrigued by the way a young child would sleep on his stomach and hang his feet out between the bars of the baby crib. An interesting and unusual picture of the child, wouldn’t you agree?

Or let’s imagine for a moment that you’re bringing home your child for the first time. Your husband holds out his large strong finger to the newborn and your newborn grabs that finger tightly with their tiny little hand. What an incredible opportunity to photograph the moment and show the wonder of a newborn and their father.

Your child loses their first tooth. A close-up photograph of a toothless grin on the face of your child can create an image that will delight everyone who sees it. Or you catch your daughter putting on grown up clothes and pretending – another great opportunity!

I love taking children to the Huckleberry Railroad near Flint, and I caught a young lad trying to walk the railroad tracks. You know what this is like, so I photographed him, worked on it a little in photoshop, and the created a unique piece of art by printing it on canvas (you can see it here!),

The First Rule: Be Prepared

You are out and about and suddenly your child finds a puddle of water and before you can stop them they jump right in. Water flies everywhere, your child is dripping wet and a mischievous grin is plastered all over their face. A close up photograph of that face can tell a wonderful story and remind us years later of the lively child now all grown up.

I remember one of my sons running in a cross-country race and his tennis shoe had come apart. There he was, continuing the race, running across the field shoe flapping in the breeze as he ran, but determined to finish. Again, an unusual but interesting photograph.

But if I didn’t have my camera, extra batteries and a flash unit with me I would never have caught any of these photographs.

  1. Be prepared for the unexpected by having your camera close by and ready at all times;
  2. Think about what is special about your child – their eyes, hair, hands, feet or how they move (my grandchildren squat with legs splayed to either side of their body);
  3. Take close-ups of their special features like their eyes when they are well rested, clean and bright eyed;
  4. Dress them up in a favorite outfit when you are going somewhere special and take your camera;
  5. You know your child better than anyone – use that knowledge to look for opportunities to photograph those unique looks only they have and give only to their parents;
  6. When they do something silly and messy don’t get mad – take pictures! Those posed say “cheese” photographs are not very interesting.;
  7. Don’t just look at your photos once and put them away – study them and use the best ones to create special gifts for family and art for your home.

Each child is truly unique, and it is that uniqueness that makes them special. Think about ways that you can capture that uniqueness and then use those photographs in as many ways as possible. Don’t store them and forget them – use them! You will be glad you did.

Be sure and claim your copy of my free eBook “6 Essential Tips” for more suggestions on photographing your children.

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer

Betty Muscott, Child Photographer


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