Are you a parent looking for child photography tips so you can take better pictures of your kids? Photographing kids can be a challenge even for an experienced professional photographer. We’re talking about turned heads, short attention spans, and easily distracted balls of energy. For parents, that’s a lot to handle on top of handing a camera.

As a mom and an expert child photographer in the Washington, DC region, both my work and my life has taught me valuable lessons about how to create timeless child portraits. Here is some of my child photography advice for taking better pictures of your kids:

top baby and family photographer Julie Kubal in Washington DC

1. Stop flashing!

Contrary to what you may believe, your camera’s flash is not your best friend. This blinding light can result in unflattering shadows, distorted skin tones, and Dracula-like red eyes. Instead of keeping the flash set to auto mode, fiddle around with your camera’s settings and disable the flash entirely. Then only flip it back on with intention for very specific occasions. For example, you might decide it’s necessary in a dimly lit room.

2. Adjust your shutter speed

Working with a fast lens (otherwise known as a wide aperture) and a fast shutter speed is essential for shooting child portraits without flash, whether you’re working indoors or outside. Speeding things up will allow you to blur out the background and minimize your photo’s depth of field, which will help draw attention to your subject matter.

Toddler girl holds on to an iron fence in the Logan Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC. This is an example of one of my child photography tips to get on eye level with your subject rather than shooting from your full height.

3. The Simplest Child Photography Tip: Just Bend Your Knees!

Rather than staring down at your children and shooting from the heights, vary the angles by getting down on your kid’s level. It’s one of the easiest tips for improving your child photography skills— just bend your knees!

4. For Fast Movers, Play freeze!

One of the biggest challenges in child photography is getting kids to sit still long enough to snap a picture. Keep your kids engaged by turning the photo shoot into a game while simultaneously distracting them from your efforts to capture the moment. Try a little round of Simon Says or Freeze! to transform your family into modeling pros—without them even realizing it!

photo of smiling little girl at play in a school playground for Un-School Photos by Julie Kubal in Washington, DC. This image is an example of several of my child photography tips: get down on their level, don't worry about eye contact, and play a game that helps slow them down long enough to snap the picture.

5. Forget about eye contact

Some of the best photos of children are those showing them exploring their environment, playing with friends, or falling fast asleep. To avoid making a portrait to feel posed, try to catch your kids off guard. There’s no need for them to look at the camera, nor for them to say “cheese.” Just let them be and allow the scene to unfold.

An example of one of my favorite child photo tips is not worrying about the subject making eye contact with the camera like in this photo of a  laughing little boy sitting on a bench at the foot of his parents' bed.

6. Take too many

I often find that moms and dads set sky-high expectations for their photography skills, thinking that each shot has to result in earth-shattering art. Even professionals take a lot more photos than they end up using. Why? Because we know that the more images we snap, the higher the probability of snapping up something magical. While one image may capture your kids with eyes closed and an odd smirk, the very next image reveals open eyes and a winning smile.

7. Turn on continuous shooting

Try out continuous shooting mode to capture all of your children’s fleeting expressions and lightning-fast movement. Download everything onto your computer to view the full sequence. Just delete the images that don’t work and keep only the cream of the crop.

Check out these articles for some more child photo tips:

How to Capture Your Kids in Action

5 Simple Tips to Improve Your Baby Photography Overnight

How to Get Kids to Cooperate for Photos


If you’re interested in learning even more to perfect your child photography, sign up for my Snap Happy Workshop or arrange a private class with me for you and your friends! I’ll share even more tips for stepping up your family photography and capturing keepsake-quality portraits every day.

Julie Kubal family portraits Washington D.C.About the Photographer and Author:

Julie Kubal is a child and family portrait artist and photographer serving Washington DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia. She is passionate about creating warm and meaningful artwork through modern portraits and lifestyle photography at a location of your choice!