11 Tips from Top photographers for Taking Kid and Family Photos

11 Tips from Top photographers for Taking Kid and Family Pictures
Photo of Yumi Matsuo by Greer Goldenberg

11 Tips from Top photographers for Taking Kid and Family Photos

Ever wonder why our covers look so good? This is because we have the best photographers who shoot for us. We also do a lot to get a great pic, especially with kids. I have personally done somersaults, worn silly hats, and begged and pleaded for a great photo. But there are also times our crew does something crazy- we let kids be kids, and we take the pics as they live in the moment.

Whether you want to take a great family photo or take keepsakes of your littles, we have tips from our amazing contributing photographers on how to get it. Take the pic and make sure you get pictures where you are in it, mama!

Tips from Top photographers for Taking Kid and Family Pictures

Ana Gambuto


Move it, move it: Take a group picture while you’re all walking towards the camera, swaying, singing, yelling something (“happy Halloween” offers good mouth shapes), or do anything that has your body moving naturally. This will always give you a more authentic picture full of life. If you’re taking a photo of your kid, have them run toward you, spin in a circle or do some kind of action, maybe a jumping jack, try a high five and these photos will look more casual and more natural than a grip-and-grin.

Set the scene, call action (toddlers): For a young toddler, first, back them up against a blank wall (as plain as you can find!) Then have a friend sit beside you and call “ACTION!” make them dance and sing and do ridiculous stuff right above the phone or camera, maybe with a toy, with their voice, or anything that uses the element of surprise (and delight). Just go crazy! A toddler will at least briefly stand there and smile and laugh against a perfect plain backdrop.

The Hail Mary: For older kids who are just too ‘cool’ to participate, find ample floor space and tell them to lie down and go to sleep. Now put their heads together, legs straight out in front of them, arranged in so that their bodies are making a little pinwheel shape. Just put a blanket over all of their heads and then whisk it away, playing silly hide and seek or “don’t you smile!” games and even though they’re old and way too cool, they can’t help but smile if you’re playing with them from overhead. Then you can offer to switch and you lay down on the ground and they look down over the top of you, maybe do a little ring around the Rosie action and you’ll take pictures from down below with all their hair flying over the camera and it’s very silly and an awesome photo.

My iPhone upside-down trick!  Simply hold your pointer finger on the up-volume button on your iPhone with the camera open, flip the phone upside down and hold the camera close to the ground or kitchen counter. Fire away, taking photos upside down! Your subjects may be so intrigued with what you’re doing that they will want to participate. Foolproof!


Tips from Top photographers for Taking Kid and Family Pictures

Greer Goldenberg


Let kids be kids: Shoot kids as they are. Sometimes kids, especially younger ones, are not in the mood to get their picture taken or smile. That’s ok! A great portrait captures kids in the moment of being silly or mad, etc. So roll with it! Chances are you can get them to laugh or crack a smile by just letting them be them.

Vibe with them: Get on their level, set your shutter speed fast and be ready to run! A great way to capture active kids is to get them to run towards you or catch you. When you are down on their level you get all the amazing expressions that come with the joys of motion. Just make sure your shutter speed is fast enough to avoid blurry pictures!


Michelle Rose


It’s all about that light: To get professional-looking photos indoors, turn off your overhead lights. Try to use as much natural light as possible and take photos by a window.  

Feed the models: Be sure to have snacks with you during a photoshoot in case anyone gets hungry. No one wants their photos taken when they are feeling Hangry! Non-messy snacks are best, a bottle for the little ones (bring a bib!), pouches for the older ones, and something easy/not messy to eat like soft gummies as a treat for older kids. Avoid chocolate and crumbly snacks.

Babies: For little babies (non-newborns) I have a really simple trick I use to get a smile. I stand in front of a baby, hold eye contact, put a huge smile on my face and sweetly sing-song say “HI” (like hiiiigggghhhh-eeeee) a bunch of times until I get my smile. For shyer children I say it more quietly with a big smile in order to not scare them. Try it! 

When in doubt, do a lift! There’s almost no child (best for after the age of four months) that doesn’t LOVE to be lifted up in the air! It makes for the sweetest photos. 

Bribes: There’s no shame in the bribe game — I personally prefer a lollipop bribe at the end of a session; however, the promise of a special toy, activity or extra episode of a show are fan favorites. Generally, the promise of anything the child really loves tends to do the trick!

Psst…check out Stargazing: Beginner Tips and Places to Stargaze in New York