4 Tips for Capturing More Natural Photos of Kids

Natural Kids Photography

How to Capture More Natural Photos of Kids

Capturing photos of kids can be a bit of a daunting task sometimes.  They are typically on the go and are not always easily guided into natural poses and expressions.  In fact, most kids have what I call a “photo face” (a cross between a grimace and a forced smile) which is not ideal for most photos.

Over the years, I have found several tips and techniques that have helped me capture more natural facial expressions and genuine emotion of children.  

These can be used with both your own kids and also with children you are photographing for clients.

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1. Engage Them in Play

When photographing children, try to make it seem more like play time and less like a structured photo session.  If you do this, kids will generally relax and give you more natural expressions.

Create an opportunity for them to play by placing them in the area you want to capture some photos and then find some ways to play.  If you are photographing outdoors, you should be able to find all sorts of things to play with including grass and leaves.  Silly games like peek-a-boo are also a fun way to play.

As children get a little older, engaging them with questions and jokes is another great way to help them relax and create opportunities for natural expressions.

How to get a photogenic face naturally

2. Collaborate Together

Collaberating with your subject, is a lesson that I have had to learn over and over again — we adults can be slow sometimes.  When you collaborate with kids for photo ideas, it gets them invested in the shoot.  All of a sudden they will feel like they are a big part of what is going on.

You will find you get the best expressions from them when they are creating WITH you and not just being told what to do.  I have captured some of my favorite photos when I let children tell me what they want to photograph.

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3. Sit Back and Watch

I know this may seem like a total loss of control to some photographers, but I love when children forget that they are my photo subject and enter their own play world.  This works especially well when there are siblings playing together.

It allows me to just sit back, watch their play and capture them doing what they do best…. being their authentic selves.  I will still ask questions and move around, but I am no longer the center of attention to them and that is exactly what I want.

If the kids are being unruly…. well that’s an entirely different issue.  But there are several ways to help with that too (click the previous link for more info).

How to Photograph Natural Child Photos

4. Ask Questions

Questions are one of the easiest ways to find out about a child’s interests or delve further into the interests you already know about. 

When you engage them with questions it will help you find commonalities and build trust.  Don’t be afraid to ask silly questions to create laughs and authentic smiles.  This is a fantastic way to take the focus away from the camera!

Natural Child Photography

Now get out there and incorporate some of these tips in your own child photo sessions.  Then evaluate your results.  Are you getting better more natural photos?  If you keep working at it and adapting your style to find what works best, you will be well on your way to becoming an amazing child photographer!

Do you have any questions or comments about Capturing More Natural Photos of Kids?  Leave us a comment below – we would LOVE to hear from you!  And PLEASE SHARE our tutorial using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!

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