5 Tiny Tweaks To Take Better Kid Photos

Want to know a secret? Sometimes some tiny tweaks are all you need to take better kid photos.

I have a confession to make.

During the week, when it’s just my kiddo and I, I rarely pull out my big camera when we go out on photo adventures. She’s strong willed and spirited, and has a mind of her own. One day she’ll be an awesome leader! But right now….

  • If I say no, she pushes every button to get what she wants.
  • If I say stay close, she proceeds to run the other direction.
  • If I say don’t touch, she wants to handle every delicate item in arms reach.

Part of this is simply her transitioning out of toddlerhood and working on maturing into a slightly more rational preschooler. But part of it is just her nature to be independent.


I always feel like I need to be on my A game when solo parenting and unfortunately the camera pulls me away from being present with her and keep her from running into traffic or breaking every glass object in a store!

Most of the time I just end up using my phone to take amazing photos while we’re out an about.

(side note: sometimes I secretly wish I had a full-time live in photographer who could walk around with us documenting our days and compiling the images into beautiful photo books for our family — any takers out there?!)

But, a few weeks ago I bravely brought the DSLR to the local u-pick farm for green bean picking. It was just the kiddo and I (and the camera). It was kinda like having another child along for the adventure because the camera required almost as much attention as my daughter.

Trying to photograph in the mid day sun was a challenge and I quickly became overwhelmed and frustrated with my work. It required me to pull eyes away from my daughter to get the camera out of the bag, survey the light, set up technical settings, and pinpoint my focus. I was no longer engaged with my kiddo, I was seeking out a beautiful image.

[Tweet “We can’t sacrifice our precious moments of presence in the name of perfect photos.”]

5 Tiny Tweaks to Take Better Kid Photos

During the these instances, I simply come back to basics and remember some tiny tweaks to take better kid photos that always help me look beyond technical photo ingredients and appreciate my moments just as they are.

1) Seek out texture


How can you make your photo backdrops interesting? Can you coordinate outfits with you child’s toys or the room they are playing in? Is there a park with long grass, trees, or flowers that you can use as a backdrop? What can you do to make your photos pop more and come to life?

2) Look for lines


This is something that I do almost instinctively and I don’t typically look for.  It’s the idea of seeking out natural lines that lead the way to your kiddo in the photograph. You can find lines in fence posts, walking trails, stair steps, siding on the house, etc…next time you’re out train your eye to start looking for lines and see what you come up with!

3) Learn the rule of thirds


Another way to take better kid photos is to compose photos in a way that is most pleasing to the eye. The way you do this is by imagining that your viewfinder is divided into thirds. If you can compose the important parts of the image on one of those dividing lines it will look the most pleasing, without falling into the trap of always composing your child in the middle of the frame. For example, you can align your child on the right or left, or find ways to place horizon lines a the top or bottom.

4) Change your perspective


No one warned me how much of workout photography was going to turn out to be when I first started! Especially with a busy preschooler who is always running me ragged.  I am constantly moving around when taking pictures of her and trying to find new and interesting ways to shoot.  Close up, far away, from the front, from behind, up high, down low.  If I’m not working up a sweat, I know I’m not making the most of my session.

5) Play


The more you can do to have FUN while you photograph the better. Period. Find a new art project to try, game to play, or activity to enjoy. Stop aiming for perfection and simply snap a few images while you enjoy quality time together.

You can learn more more tiny tweaks to take better kid photos with Momtography! Check out the class line up here!