Kids’ Photography Ideas: 30 Creative Examples

Children are photogenic, but notoriously difficult to photograph. During a posed photo shoot, they can sometimes be shy or behave differently than usual, making the portraits seem ‘set up’ or inauthentic, or at least hard to shoot.

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That’s why some families choose to have a lifestyle photo shoot instead, aiming for candid rather than posed shots. Although it can be difficult to capture a great candid portrait, the photo will likely be treasured for years. These are some tips that will help you improve your chances of getting that perfect shot.

Children’s PhotographyTips and Inspiration

In addition to the following suggestions, it’s worth reading through these lifestyle photography tips, useful for any photo shoot that’s unposed or in a non-studio environment. This article provides more information on how to make the most of photo sessions with children.

Make it fun and playful.

We’re repeating this tip from the lifestyle photography post because it’s so important, perhaps the most important of all. You want the kids to have fun because then, they’ll be relaxed and more likely to give you their best genuine smiles. As a side bonus, the parents will also be happier, as you’re creating a positive memory for their kids.

How to make a photo shoot fun will depend on the kids’ ages and personalities. If you do not know the children well, it is a good idea to get to know them and their interests before the shoot. As much as possible, let the children choose props and locations for the shoot. This can make the shoot more enjoyable and valuable for them.

Krutika Joshi – Joyful scream ! Krutika Joshi colorful children portraits

jordan parks – cartwheel (*30*)

Explore the jordan parks jordan parks boy exploring

Design and Plan for Perfection

Photographers have the option of planning and styling a themed shoot for older children who can take instruction. It is worth the effort to plan and create beautiful, creative imagery. Pye Jirsa’s styled photoshoots with children are shown below.

Explore the outdoors

Natural behavior isn’t a button you can switch on or off with children. If you tell a child to smile or go play, they may end up just hanging by their parents’ side, blank-faced.

Be mindful of the setting you choose to photograph in. Instead of relying solely on words and obedience, think carefully about what the environment will be like. For many kids, a fun outdoor location will naturally draw out the expressions and behavior you’re trying to photograph. You have many options. Just by leaving the studio, you’ll raise your chances of getting an excellent candid portrait – and the background will be beautiful, too!

Malgorzata Kapustka – magic forest… Tredegar House… Malgorzata Kapustka girl playing by water

Malgorzata Kapustka – .. The Sound of Ocean … Malgorzata Kapustka girl on beach

Daude Helal Fahim – Happiness Daude Helal Fahim - Happiness

Use the child’s favorite toys

If going outside isn’t a possibility, you’ll need to rely on toys to make a child feel at ease. While you can (and should) bring a stash of toys, it’s also a good idea to ask the parents to bring the child’s favorite toys. While you can’t predict what your child will like, parents have a detailed list of their preferences. Even if toys are not appealing or difficult to photograph, they can offer comfort to the child and make it worth having.

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Amine Fassi, Bond, My name Jade Bond Amine Fassi - girl with toy gun

Greig Reid – Son reading Batman comic Greig Reid Son reading Batman comic

Jordan parks – Watching jordan parks baby on grass

Retire the old toys

Your family can bring whatever toys they wish, but you should limit your choices to the most photogenic. After all, the child’s own toys will have memories and nostalgia attached to them, whereas the toys in your studio are ultimately just props.

Make sure you include classics such as pinwheels and bubbles when creating your toy collection. These toys are both reliable fun and very photogenic. These toys are timeless and can be used to give your portraits a classic, charming look.

Laurens Kaldeway – Magnif(eye) Laurens Kaldeway magnifying glass

Aznin Tridi – Have you ever seen bubbles? Aznin Taridi blowing bubbles

Get out of your way.

An adult hovering over a child is the worst thing for limiting playfulness. Try to be gentle if you want your shy child to relax. Definitely don’t tell the child what to do. You can give the toy to another parent if you wish to play with it. By removing yourself from the scene like this, you’ll have a higher chance of seeing and capturing natural behavior.

If the child isn’t acting how you’d expected or hoped, view it as an opportunity to discover their personality. Photographers want to capture joy and happiness. However, some children are more reserved than others. They may not smile at the camera, but they’ll still show other emotions worth photographing, like curiosity.

Vikas Sandhu – Child’s Play Vikas Sandhu child writing

Manuel Buetti – Straighten Manuel Buetti Straighten Picture

Malgorzata Kapustka – … a foggy day … Malgorzata Kapustka feeding squirrels

Be prepared for lots of movement.

If the child you’re photographing ends up playing quietly, you’ve lost nothing by preparing for more movement. However, if you’re hoping the child will stay still… Don’t depend on it. The shoot should be approached as a sport game. Although there might be inactive times, the most powerful emotions and the best shots are often right at the center of the action.


James Drury — leg it James Drury - running on beach

Sourabh Gandhi – Festival of colors Sourabh Gandhi - Festival of colors

Take a look at their hands, feet, and body movements.

If you spend the whole shoot trying to capture the child’s facial expressions, you might miss out on a bunch of other great shots. Focusing on just the face can sometimes prove frustrating for children who keep looking away. Instead of becoming frustrated, take a step back and examine the whole scene. You might see possibilities for beautiful photos with just the child’s feet or hands.

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jordan parks – el mapache jordan parks boy opening door

Jordan parks – 10 am jordan parks kids swing

jordan parks – noon jordan parks - kid holding book

Follow the child’s lead.

If you’re used to being totally in charge of a shoot, taking a back-seat position might be unnerving for you at first. But remember that you’re not trying to control the child’s behavior and personality; you’re trying to capture it authentically in a photo.

In other words, you’re an observer, not the child’s boss. If you have to provide guidance, it should be gentle and playful. Unless they’re about to damage something valuable like your camera gear, remain relaxed and open about what’s possible. It’s possible to find that their creativity, ingenuity and creativeness are more inspiring than what you could ever have imagined.

Photography by Anika Alonzo – King of the Wild photography by anika alonzo - kid portrait

Naughty Kid: Shanavas shanavas - kid natural light

Nimit Nigam – Brown Eyes…. Nimit Nigam - Brown Eyes

Ask the child if they’d like to pose for a photo.

Posing is a favorite pastime for some children. Asking parents before you go will help you determine if your child is a nervous camera-photographer or a movie star. But even if a kid doesn’t seem like the posing type, it’s worth asking them whether they’d like to pose for a photo, perhaps after you’ve already captured some beautiful candid shots.

Sometimes, asking for a posed photo can make a kid feel more comfortable than if they’re suddenly told to pose without asking first. It can be comforting to ask for a photo, especially since many kids have grown accustomed to using their camera phones and taking spontaneous photos.

And if they say “No,” it’s a quick way to know that posing isn’t going to work. Then, you won’t waste time trying to get a kid to act happy for a photo when they’re not happy and would rather be playing.

Greig Reid – Daughter Dec 12 Greig Reid - blue eyes

Berit Alits – Mya Berit Alits - girl with freckles

Amine Fassi – Lili Fashionita Amine Fassi - Fashionita

Wild Priest – Candy Kid Wild Priest - Candy kid

Amine Fassi – Saskia Passionara Amine Fassi - sepia kid portrait

Edwin Keijzer – old shot new version Edwin Keijzer - hair blowing

These photos were taken from our Flickr group. If you take a great photo of your child, please share it with our Flickr group. We will be able to admire your work.

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