Skip to Content

Shoot Better |How to take unposed photos of kids (part 2)

This post is part of Shoot Better, a series about improving your photography skills without buying new equipment. Because, you know, frugality. 😉

5 Ways to Take Better Candid, Unposed Kid Pictures

Last week I shared 4 ways to take better candid, unposed photos of kids, and today I’ve got 5 more ideas to help you get great kid shots.


I’m starting with one of my very favorite tips, which is:


Want to make your kid photos look amateur?

Never make yourself uncomfortable. Just shoot from right where you are, and bam! You’ve achieved mediocrity.

Here’s the thing…we’re almost all taller than kids, and shooting down at them is kind of boring and unflattering. Photos taken from our perspective don’t really make you feel like you’re IN the scene, you know?

squat to take better kid photos

So, get yourself DOWN!

Squat (squatting is good for your flexibility anyway), lay on the floor, sit in a low chair, put your camera on the ground…do whatever you need to do to lower yourself to their level, because your photos are gonna be so much more fabulous if you shoot low.

I think this is super, super important, and if you only remember one thing from this post, this should be it!

Get up high.

Sometimes, shooting from directly above makes for an interesting kid shot. Hold your camera up high, stand on a deck, or stand on a chair or step-stool and see if you like the results.

get up high to take a better photo

(I know…get down, get up high; it seems like I’m contradicting myself. What I’m saying is that anything but shooting from your standing height will probably make an interesting photo. I shoot low more often than I shoot high, though.)

Move yourself to get a better background.

Backgrounds matter. But since you’re trying not to disturb your kids while they do their thing, you don’t really want to make them move to a spot where there’s a nicer background.

So, look for an angle that will give you the least distracting background.

The photo below would have been way better if I’d squatted, but it’s also not great because of the cars and trash cans in the background. If I’d have positioned myself differently, I could have had a much less distracting background.

shift for a better background

This one is much better…I squatted and I purposely shot from an angle that didn’t include cars and trash cans!pay attention to the background

Shoot your kids a lot.

If you only pull out your camera on birthdays and holidays, your kids might be primed to give you a “Cheese!” grin when you try to take their picture.

photograph your kids often

But if your camera is a regular sight, they’ll probably be more likely to just keep playing when you get it out.

(Your mileage may vary here, but this is worth a try.)

Also, even if they’re initially interested in your camera, if you can manage to hang out for a little while, they’ll probably lose interest and go back to playing.

Be sneaky.

If you think your kiddo will stop being so adorable once they see the camera, practice your ninja photographer skills.

Turn the shutter sound off on your phone, go into another room to turn your camera on (if it’s the type that makes noise when you turn it on), and then come and quietly set yourself up for the shot.

(This is also handy if you’re wanting to take a photo of a light-sleeping baby or toddler. Stealth is the name of the game.) how to take better candid kid photos

Also, since you’re likely shooting digital (which means it doesn’t matter if you waste shots), you can try nonchalantly holding your camera or phone down around your waist, pointed in the general direction of the kids, and snap away silently.

You might end up with all bad shots, but you also might get something worth keeping.


I’d love, love, love to hear how it goes when you apply these ideas!   Give ’em a try and let me know. 😉

I really hope these tips help you take snapshots you love, while also helping your kids be more camera-friendly.

(I find that kids usually don’t hate being photographed as much as they hate posing!)


P.S. If you have a candid-shot problem that I didn’t address in this post or the last, let me know in the comments.   Because there’s nothing saying we can’t have a part three about candid kid photos!

P.P.S. Did I mention you should get down when you shoot?   Yes?   Ok, ok, just checking.

P.P.P.S. The Brilliant Business Moms duo has a new book out, which is free on Kindle today: Time Management Mama: Making Use of the Margins to Pursue your Passions

(I was on the Brilliant Business Moms podcast last year, talking all things blogging.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Sunday 14th of June 2015

Never posted before but just wanted to say thanks for the tips! Took some pictures of my niece a few days ago that turned out waaaaay better than they normally do because of what you said!! (And they were taken with just my iPhone)


Sunday 14th of June 2015

I'm so glad that you delurked! And so very glad to hear that my tips helped you take better photos. Yay!!

Frugal Millennial

Monday 25th of May 2015

Great tips! I definitely agree that getting down on the ground makes for a much more interesting perspective.


Thursday 21st of May 2015

Thank you for the photography posts! I used to hate taking pictures at all because they would always come out terrible. I never would have gone out of my way to improve me technique if it wasn't for your posts (I follow your blog regularly for the food waste posts and recipes). Thank you for the lighting tips! I have suddenly started to really enjoy taking pictures since now they turn out beautiful---the right lighting makes all the difference. You are right! Every little tip helps us newbies.


Thursday 21st of May 2015

Yay!!!! I'm super duper happy to hear that my tips are helping your photos improve. Woohoo!


Wednesday 20th of May 2015

Thanks for the fantastic tips! I would love to know how you shoot fast moving children in lower light (inside) while avoiding the blur. I always seem to have an arm or leg blurred or out of focus. I try to be a "light detective" but we live in a constantly cloudy area and our house isn't the best for lighting (or the kids are playing in the window!)


Wednesday 20th of May 2015

I don't know if you're going to get to this or not in a future post, but I would be interested to hear how you set your settings on manual quickly before losing a shot. It seems like by the time I pull out the camera, turn it on, and fiddle with my settings, children have moved their pose. But maybe I just need to work on being lightening fast, or have some pre-sets in mind.


Wednesday 20th of May 2015

If you're in a hurry, then just shoot on AV or P or something like don't have to set up each shot completely manually.

Before I start snapping, I take a quick peek at the lighting and adjust ISO and white balance, and the one thing I ALWAYS do manually is choosing the focal point. But I've done that so much now, it takes a split second and I don't have to think about it.

Practice really helps!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.