10 tips for photographing your children

Dec 10, 2009

Yay! I’ve been published in the October-November issue of Family Matters magazine: the definitive guide to family life in The Netherlands – did you see it?

Here’s a copy of the article for those that didn’t :-)

CLICK! Ten tips for photographing your children

ten tips for photographing your children by Natalie Carstens, Tigs Creations Photography

All parents take photographs of their children, and treasure them all; except perhaps the ones that just didn’t turn out very well! But wouldn’t you like to know how to take beautiful portraits instead of just so-so snapshots? Professional photographer, Natalie Carstens, shares the secrets to taking great photographs of your children. Here are some helpful tips to remember next time you take out the camera.

1. Practise focusing
Eyes connect the viewer to the image. So, focus on your child’s eyes, lock the focus (usually by half-pressing the shutter), recompose the image if you need to, then slowly press the shutter button to prevent camera shake. Children are rarely still, so getting the focus right takes practice, but practice makes perfect.

2. Get closer and fill the frame
Don’t be afraid to cut off the top of your child’s head, it makes the photograph more intimate and draws attention to the eyes.  Move closer with your feet, or zoom in with your lens. This eliminates background clutter and other distractions.

3. Photograph in soft light
Learn to see the best light; you want to have soft shadows in your portraits. Soft shadows allow children to widen their eyes. If you are outside, avoid the harsh midday sun and look for open shade – under trees or near a building. The light on an overcast day is perfect for portraits; get in close and avoid including the sky. When photographing your children indoors, north-facing windows give a bright, indirect light that works like an overcast sky.

4. Turn the flash off
A built-in camera flash is great for snapshots but not so good for portraits. Instead, opt for open shade or window light and turn the flash off.

5. Be creative with your composition
Instead of placing your child in the middle of the photograph, place him off to one side. When photographing outdoors, watch out for trees or buildings growing out of his head; sometimes you need to step a little to one side. Add a little variety to your photographs by changing the orientation of your camera to shoot in portrait as well as landscape format.

6. Change your perspective
Get down low and photograph your children at their eye-level. For babies and infants, you might even want to lie on the floor!

7. Capture different expressions
Children have fascinating expressions; they can be serious and thoughtful. Try to capture these expressions. Make it fun for your children by giving them something to do – a book or a toy. Conversation is another good way to capture your child’s different expressions. Ask younger children to tell you a story.

8. Follow your child
Be ready for action by watching your child through the viewfinder. With a little patience, when you follow them you’ll be ready to capture that perfect moment.

9. Get everyone closer together
When photographing multiple children together, ask them to put their arms around each other, hold hands or touch their heads together.

10. Keep pressing the shutter button
Luck can play a big role in successful portraits. Keep taking photographs, with practice you’ll get luckier and increase the odds of getting that one beautiful portrait. With digital cameras there’s no excuse not to take more photographs.

Natalie Carstens of Tigs Creations Photography specialises in pregnancy, newborn, children and family portraiture. Her style is modern and fresh; with each portrait she aims to capture the real essence of her subjects in a fun and relaxed way. For more information and to view additional photographs, visit her website and follow her blog at www.tigscreations.com.

Download a PDF copy of the article here.


  1. Vinita

    Congrats tigs! Really well written article!

  2. Patti Brown

    Natalie – what an awesome article! Beautiful work too on your blog. Hugs to you – PB

  3. Lisa

    wow great tips!

  4. evie

    Fantastic!!!! Congratulations to you!! Quite an accomplishment!

  5. Nicki

    Congrats!! Great article!

  6. Paula Dietz Rauber

    Yay, congratulations Natalie!!
    The article looks fantastic!

  7. Mike

    Nice one for getting published and for also providing the article too


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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


Impressions from May and June 2021 : a personal project

Impressions from May and June 2021 : a personal project

Nature inspires me constantly and I’m often pausing to take it all in or to capture what I see in a photo. I usually only have my phone camera with me on my morning walks so this round of Impressions is a blend of DSLR and iPhone photos. I love witnessing the seasons...

Impressions from March & April 2021 : a personal project

Impressions from March & April 2021 : a personal project

We're still regularly geocaching! We go out with a walking route in mind and a cluster of caches to look for along the way. It's nice to escape the busy beach area and find quiet places in nature. In early April we invited friends to join us and we walked round...


Ready to book? Click here!

The Hague, The Netherlands

A unique blend of documentary family photography and guided lifestyle family photography for
families welcoming a new baby.