How to take better photos of your kids this summer

I recently got back from San Francisco for a friend’s bachelor party and had a rude 107 degree awakening when I stepped out of the airport in Tucson – wow, summer is with us. Christina and I are both born and raised in Tucson so we are familiar with the dry heat and the amazing monsoons, however, we both agree that having two small kids makes summer a little bit harder. Our mid-morning park dates have been pushed to an early 7 a.m. and we are finding ourselves inside or in the pool for the majority of our day.

Our boys are not school age yet but for many of you summer means a lot more time together as a family – vacationing, swimming, and my personal favorite staycation’ing. It is a really great time to pull out your camera and document your children and all the mischief they are getting into. I’ve had quite a few of you ask me how to take better ‘everyday’ photos of their children so I’ve put together some quick and easy tips so you can fire up your phone camera, or even better your ‘adult’ camera and capture some really great images of your kiddos this summer.

1. Get lowwwww – I am always telling Christina to do this. We even have a video of Ren riding his bike where I am yelling ‘Get Low! Get Low!’ in the background. It is clearly a trick I feel stronly about :-). Kids are short, we know this, so unless they are staring right up at you and you have the camera directly above their little face the photo is not going to be as great as it could be. Take an extra second and get on your knees or lay in the grass so that the camera is at their level.

In this photo I crouched down to Eli's level so I could be face-to-face with him as he ran at me. I still can't get over those shades!

Since I mentioned a looking-up photo I thought I would post the one below to show you the difference between a kid level and adult level view. Both are great but just tell a different story.


2. Go outside – I know that in Tucson we tend to keep the curtains closed and the house a little darker in hopes it will keep the heat out. A dark house isn't going to give you those playful summer photos so get the kids outside! Mid- morning and early evening light is the best for snapping pictures which is coincidentally also the coolest times of our summer days so try to adventure outdoors.

This photo was taken in the beautiful early evening California sun which gives Eli a nice little hair light on the left side.

3. Let them be little – So many of us go right in to pose mode when we try to get pictures of our kids. Do you know how HARD that is? I hate to break it to you but if you try to get your kids all lined up with smiles on their faces you will be more disappointed than happy with the photos. Instead, try letting them do whatever they want to do and you just run around with them documenting. I promise that you will love every single photo of your kid eating dirt, climbing trees or playing house. You are also more likely to catch a cheesy smile because they are doing exactly what they love.

This San Francisco family (who also happen to be my closest friends) have the most impressive garden at their Novato, CA home. Harvesting the fruits (or vegetables) of their labor and tending to their plants is something they enjoy doing together and I wanted to capture that. During this family session I just stepped back and watched Eli help his dad pick vegetables and I was able to capture this image - it is one of my favorites because it is so genuine to how this family actually lives.

Finally …

  1. When it’s just not an awesome photo à edit – How many of you use editing apps other than instagram before posting your photos to social media? [raising my hand proudly] Good! There are so many impressive apps out there that allow you to take an OK photo and make it really great. Two of my favorites are VSCO Cam and Fotor found in the App Store.

Now that you’ve mastered the art of taking great pictures of your kids what are you going to do with them? Post them on instagram? Me too. We are trying to be better about printing photos of the kids and Christina has been using this really awesome app called Chatbooks. For only $6/book Chatbooks automatically prints 60 page books of her instagram photos and ships them right to our door. If you want to try it out (promise you will get hooked) you can use the code below to get a free book.

Happy 4th of July weekend friends! If you have any specific questions regarding taking photos of kids please don't hesitate to reach out to me! I love sharing knowledge.