5 Tips for Taking Pictures with your kids

I love every article I come across that reminds and reassures women that they should be in photos with their children. It’s so, so important to be present, in life and in visual documentation. That’s just one of the reasons I believe so strongly in professional family photography–to get the *entire* family together in pictures. But what about the other 364 days of the year?

The Mom Stays In The Picture:

“I want to be in the picture, to give them that visual memory of me. I want them to see how much I am here, how my body looks wrapped around them in a hug, how loved they are.”

Lessons Learned from a Year of Staying in the Picture:

“When we take pictures with our children, we are asserting ourselves as important and valuable, and our children are watching us.”

“Pictures of us say: we laughed, we loved, we had adventures, we felt pain. We lived. We were perfectly their mothers… and perfectly ourselves.”

So now that we know *why*, let’s talk about *how* to be in photos with our kids. It’s quite easy, no matter what kind of camera you have.

Five Tips for Taking Pictures WITH Your Kids

ASK someone to do it.

Yes. Ask. Make a point to put yourself out there, to make your needs known. No one can read your mind, and it’s very possible that no one else is thinking about pictures of you and your kids being adorable. You might feel silly or shy, but I am confident that the person you ask will be happy to help you out. And just think how happy the picture will make you. 🙂

So hand off the camera or the cell phone and say, “Can you please take a picture of me/us?” Ask your partner, ask a stranger, heck maybe even ask one of your kids. 🙂

toddler with cameraThe photo below is the first, best, only early photo I have of me with my tiny twins with the real camera. I had to set up the camera myself and then ask my husband. I hated having to do it, but not as much as I would have hated having zero photos of me with my babies. I have a ton of yellow, grainy, slightly blurry phone selfies, but almost no *quality* photos of me in those early days. And I still regret it to this day. Even though I was still puffy and wore pajamas 24/7 and lived on the couch, I don’t care; pictures like this are priceless. It doesn’t matter what I looked like; it mattered that I was there, it mattered to document the early days–not just the babies, not just my husband and the babies, but me too.

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But what if no other capable people are around?

Take a Selfie

You know how to do it. Get your face in there with the cute little one.

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Above: big camera selfie with my 2-month-olds. Below: phone selfie with 2.5-year-old. 🙂

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What if you want to try something different and/or less posed?

Use a Timer

The iPhone native camera now has a timer, and there are plenty of other apps for your smart phone that will allow you to put your camera down and have it take pictures for you. I use one called Camera Timer. I like it because it has a multi-shot function, which means that I can set the countdown, waiting period, and total shots.  This is a great way to get more candid shots of you playing with your kids, or nursing, or reading a book together, cooking together, or anything else that captures your everyday life as mother. Put the phone somewhere, point it at you, and go do something fun while the phone camera goes click click click.
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Big cameras have timers as well, and the more recent DSLRs even allow multi-shots. The photos below with E were taken with a remote, but they would have been great with a timer too.

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What if you want to use your DSLR?

Use a Remote

If you have a big camera, get a remote. They are inexpensive and they are worth their weight in gold! Seriously, they are the best.

In these photos, my 3 year old M and I are both in our pajamas, hanging out on the couch. Sure, I have a double chin in some of them, but I can look past that and see the fun we’re having together, the love and connection we have. These photos may not be Pinterest perfect, but they are so special for me. My babies are getting so big, though they’re still so little. You know?

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Reading books during dinnertime. Toddler mess and all. <3 This is a self-portrait but I do ask my husband to take photos of me reading to my boys sometimes. (I take plenty of him reading to them, too, but I want to be in photos too!)DSC_7132-1_WEB

Get the Camera As High as Possible

Photos usually look better when the angle is closer to matching your own eye level, so whenever possible, get the camera up off the ground. If you don’t have a gorillapod or tripod, you can use anything else. A tall shelf, a chair, a stack of books. If you’re outside, look for a tree stump, or a stair.

For the photo below, I balanced my phone on a set of stairs–you can see the blurry stair along the bottom of the picture. For the photos in the driveway, I used my gorillapod. For the couch photos, I put the camera on the tv console across from the couch.

I love this picture below so much. Mostly because it shows me holding hands with both my boys, which just gives me all the feels. But also because it captures a moment in time–taking neighborhood walks with my boys and their tricycles (notice that one attached an old compost bin as an extra storage compartment). Someday soon they will be bigger, riding real bikes, won’t be interested in holding my hand anymore. So that’s why it’s so precious and important to look for these fleeting times to hold on to forever.

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Now get out there and take some photos of you with your kiddos! Do you have any questions that I can help with? Leave them in the comments below!