Top 5 Tips to Photographing your Kids like a Pro

By Tara Jackson of TaraMichelle Photography

I get asked all the time, “How in the world do you get such natural beautiful shots of people?” While I have always felt that there is something to a natural “eye” for framing a photograph, there are quite a few techniques out there that have nothing to do with natural talent, and more to do with learning to see the world as a photographer does (I can tell you that the world looks very different to me than it does to my mathematically minded and logical husband.) In the age of digital cameras with all of their settings and editing software option, photography can seem more complicated than it truly is. So without going through a whole lecture on F-Stops, light temperatures and the rule of thirds, here are a few tips on how to capture those quirky, silly and adorable years of your childs’ life more like a pro.


1. Turn Off Your Flash

I can’t stress this one enough. As a photographer, I was trained to use both natural light and in studio flash. How many times was I asked to photograph my subject with my on camera flash? Zero. The flash built in to your camera, no matter how high end it might be, always creates funky harsh shadows and tends to blow out the features on that beautiful little face while leaving everything else dark or underexposed. If the weather is nice, kids love to be outside playing, so utilize this excitement. If you want to photograph inside, find the biggest window in your house, and take notice as to what time of day you have the most sunlight streaming in (be sure to get between your child and the window, other wise you’ll just get a silhouette!)

 2. Get On their Level

When photographing children, the only time I am ever not on my knees, or rolling around on the ground with them is if the little adventurer is climbing on a playground, showing me his crime fighting superman skills or she’s laying in the grass holding out a flower she’s just found. One great thing about kids is that they love to run, play and get dirty; when was the last time you got down there with them, capturing the world (and their adorable expressions) from their level.  (hint: be sure to wear clothes you don’t mind getting grass stains and mud on.)



 3. Don’t be afraid to get up close.

You’re not photographing your backyard or the local landscape; you’re photographing your kids. Those sparkly eyes, that cute toothless grin, and that pouty face they always make when their ornery side comes out. Forget the background and fill the frame with that goofy little face. Photography is no longer limited to the posed, subject right in the middle of the frame, hold the camera perfectly straight, look at the camera and “Say Cheese!” rules that it once was.

 4. Pay attention to what’s in the background.

But didn’t you just say, “forget the background?” I’m glad you’re paying attention; yes I did. But sometimes you want to capture them in their surroundings, twirling in her new princess dress with your family dog playing her loyal subject. Make sure that there isn’t anything in the background that looks like its sticking up out of her head, like a light pole or a tree. If there is, don’t ask her to move, (she’s in character!) Instead, change your angle, get closer to the ground, or take two or three steps to the side.

 5. Practice, Practice, practice.

The beauty of the digital age is that once you’ve paid for the camera and memory card (and if you’re a serious picture taker, external memory), it doesn’t really cost you much more to take 100 photos as it does 1 photo. So snap away! The truth is, with kids and pets, who are constantly in motion, whether you are a pro or not, there will only be a handful of photos you want to print after an afternoon in the park. So take as many as you can, review them, see what worked and what didn’t, and then repeat.



Happy photographing!


Tara Jackson is a Photographer and writer located right here in Boone. Originally from Texas, she moved to NC with her family in 1997, later deciding to complete her photography education at Appalachian State University and opening a photography business after graduation. TaraMichelle Photography specializes in lifestyle photojournalistic portraits, capturing the beauty that is each individual. She also manages the social media and blog for Charleston Forge, a local furniture manufacturer, and with her and her husband expecting their first little one, aims to make Boone and the High Country more pregnancy friendly.  You can find more of Taras’ photographic work at


  1. Richard Tidyman says

    The beauty of current digital cameras is that even if you don’t get the best picture, you can edit it with something simple like IrfanView, which is a free download. A quick crop, reduction in size and resolution and you are ready to email your pictures to family and friends.