Art, Features, Lifestyle, Parenting, Photography

“Say Cheese, Honey!”

Many people struggle to take photographs of their children, ending up with blurry, too dark or simply badly taken pictures.  There is still hope – simply follow these tips and you will find that you will get much better photos.

As a mum, I know all too well how fast and non co-operative kids can be when it comes to having their photo taken – all these photos are of my daughter and are natural photos taken in a natural environment, not a photo session.


Some of you may already know that photography is all about light, so switch all possible lights on, open all the curtains or simply choose the brightest room you have.

If the weather is fine, go out to the garden.  If it’s the bathroom that’s the brightest in your house, go there. For the photo below we took potato peeling out to the garden and used the natural light.

Child outside, peeling potatoes and laughing


If you want to shoot your child’s portrait, move them over to the window. Sit them facing or next to the window, position yourself next to your child and start shooting. The light coming from the window will brighten your child’s face giving a warm light and will reduce shadows.

Taking photos of your own children - child next to window


If you want to get those happy, exciting and full of laughter photos that you see in magazines, you need to  have fun with the camera. Remember that when you sit opposite your child with your camera, the only thing they see is that big piece of equipment you’re pointing at them, and so your kids will act out and get very impatient.

But if they see mum/dad behind the lens, having fun with them, you are that bit nearer to catching those amazing family moments. Talk to them, ask questions, make a fool out of yourself, simply be alive! For example, try saying “I bet you cannot jump up high enough to reach the ceiling!”  Be ready, and keep on pressing the button. I guarantee some natural laughter will follow seconds after.

While taking the photo below I simply said to her: “I bet you can’t drink your juice and look at mummy at the same time…”

Take good photos of your children - child drinking juice


You want your kids to be calmer and in one place? Give them a prop.

Apple, lollipop, piece of chocolate, teddy, your jewellery, kids magazine, even Ikea product long tags. Once you have them occupied with something, you have a perfect model, but be quick, props don’t work forever!

Child taking photo with toy camera


When you stand further back and let your kids just be, doing what they love doing, you can get their real personality. It doesn’t always have to be pictures of them staring at the camera. Back up, give them space and capture those moments of your kids being kids.

By being an “invisible photographer” you won’t have pouting, acting out and boredom on their face. Instead, you may be lucky in catching their true nature.

How to take a good photo of your child


Yes, it is! Don’t delete those awkward photos. You caught a pre-sneeze face? Great, keep it. A photo of your 2 year old crying his head off? Even better, you will have something to show to your future son/daughter-in-low;) Aim for those in-between moments as well.

Different photos look good too - grumpy child


If your kids don’t want to have their photo taken at this time, don’t push it. You will have everyone hitting the roof with no decent photos on your memory card. Taking photos should be fun – if it isn’t it will cause unnecessary tension, so sometimes you will have to put the camera down.  Simply enjoy the time with your loved ones and try again soon.

I know from my own experience, as a mum and as a photographer, that sometimes it’s those 5 minutes without the serious equipment covering your face that will make a huge difference. Treat your little ones as children in front of the camera and not as professional models on a contract.

Child in swing, having fun

I hope that helps, and I wish you all great family photos you will cherish forever!

Have you got any tricks you use on your kids? Share them in the comments below.

If you are interested in joining my photography workshops for parents starting early spring, please contact me via email to get more details and book a space.

About vanillapiephotography

I'm a mum, wife, maternity&newborn photographer, friend and so much more. I love to travel, love french music&movies, and love boiling hot weather. My passion is photography and I'm lucky to be doing something that brings me fun and satisfaction. My motto is Carpe Diem, and my daughter reminds me about it every day. If you want to get in touch with me, book a session, please drop me a line on and visit my Facebook Fan Page on Vanilla Pie Photography. I'm also offering Photography Workshops in North London, so if you are interested please email me to book a space.


6 thoughts on ““Say Cheese, Honey!”

  1. Some really great tips there – thank you! What kind of camera do you have (or what’s the main one you use as I assume you have more than one?)

    Posted by MadeByYoursTruly | December 21, 2011, 10:29 pm
    • Hi,
      I use Nikon D70. But if your camera has got some basic modes, such as Manual, Aparture, etc, you can take great photos no matter what gear you have;) Hope that helps ;))

      Posted by vanillapiephotography | December 21, 2011, 11:22 pm
  2. Hi there
    As Santa is bringing me a digital SLR I would be interested in your workshop. Jo Price (

    Posted by Jo Price | December 22, 2011, 9:54 am
    • Hi Jo,
      Your Santa’s got a great taste ;))
      I will be running the workshop in North London, so hopefully you will be able to attend it. If not, I’m planning on having an on-line workshop, but that’s still draft at the moment.
      Take care 😉

      Posted by vanillapiephotography | December 22, 2011, 10:35 am


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