Tips for Photographing Your Child Candidly

Recently I have been transferring the pictures on my iPhone over to my computer in an effort to free up space on my cell and organize/pare down the images. My end goal is to finally make a picture book of Charlie's first and possibly second year of life. I have lots of photos of him that I love in which he is just being himself, snacking on something, jumping on the couch, playing quietly in his room, and so on. I thought it would be fun to share some of the pretty basic rules I follow that allow me to capture Charlie simply and candidly, even if it is most of the time with my phone. Here are some tips for photographing your little one without the common plea "say cheese!"

Open all of your curtains and blinds - let that light in! The very first thing I do in the morning is let in as much light as possible by opening any curtains or blinds. It's not easy to take a quick picture of your child if your home is cave-like. During the day I keep lights off (they can cast a strange color on your picture) and work with only the natural light pouring through the windows. 

Get them dressed in the morning. There have been times while browsing Instagram that I've thought to myself "does that child ever have clothes on?" Don't get me wrong, I love and have my fair share of toddler-in-diaper photos (there is one in this post!), but I find it helps to keep Charlie from looking too sloppy or unkempt when I get him dressed not too long after breakfast.  

Pull out your camera often and keep it nearby. The more you use your camera, the more familiar it will be to your child and therefore less of a distraction when you are trying to sneakily capture them doing something cute. A perfect example of this: Charlie doesn't even look up or notice when I am taking a picture of him with my phone because I do it so often (and shamefully have my phone on me at all times). However, when I take out my DSLR camera, he can get distracted with it pretty easily and it's harder to capture him in the moment. 

Let them do what they usually do. I try not to say “look at the camera” or “smile.” At the most I will frame my shot and quietly call Charlie’s name for a quick glance over at me. 

Semi-stage them in photogenic places. This is something I think I do more subconsciously than consciously, but I thought it worth mentioning. If you are going to set your kids up at a coloring station, place them by the window light, or in that cozy corner that always photographs well.