Is it just me, or is it near impossible to take a great photo of your children? If on the rare occasion they do keep still long enough to take a photo, one or both of them will be looking away from the camera plus they will have that odd, slightly pained expression which they call a ‘smile’.

In a bid to take better photographs of my children, I researched the tricks of the professionals to discover the Top 10 tips for taking photos of your children.

1. Self Timer

If our family photo album was anything to go by, my children would think that my husband single-handedly raised them all by himself. Whilst there are hundreds of photos of the girls with my husband, there is probably only a handful of me. I am not sure why this has happened but it seems to be a common gripe amongst many parents.

So Dads, Grandparents, Auntie’s and Uncles, when you next see a wonderful moment, get snapping please. And don’t forget to share the photos afterwards.

Alternatively, find the self-timer on your camera and get to know how it works. Or just have a frank conversation with your other half and ask them to make a concerted effort to take family photos. It pains me to think of how many great photo opportunities have been missed of Mums with their children.

2. Say ‘Cheese’

The second my kids hear the word ‘cheese’ they automatically put on their ‘picture’ face, which is completely devoid of any emotion. Totally remove the word ‘smile’ from your photo-taking vocabulary in order to capture more natural, timeless photos.

3. Get them talking

So how do I get these more natural, timeless photos? Get them talking, ask them some questions and encourage them to talk about their favourite superhero or their favourite TV programme. They’ll become so engrossed in their answers that you’ll get lots of genuine expressions. It’s not all about the smile.

4. Catch them unaware

Also, try not to chase them around, asking them to stand in a specific place. You’ll end up with the opposite of what you are looking for – strained, forced smiles and poses. Be patient, let them do their own thing and then you are free to take photos of them while they are unaware. You will hopefully be rewarded with natural smiles and genuine expressions that encapsulate their personalities. Remember your child doesn’t have to be looking at the camera to create a great photo.

5. Get down to their level

The best photos of children tend to be taken at their eye level. So get down low and capture the world from their perspective. Perhaps take a photo directly over their shoulder as they focus on a toy. Or lie down on the floor with them as they crawl around.

Top 10 tips for taking photographs of the kids
6. Get close

When I take a photo of my children I try to fit them all in from head to toe. However, in doing so, I miss capturing all the fine details of their faces. In order to create a more dramatic image, you need to get up close and focus on just a portion of your child, such as eyelashes or fingers of a newborn.

7. Remove distractions

Make sure the background is not too distracting or overpowering. When you look back through your photos you want the focus to be your children, not the yellow car in the background. So remove any unnecessary clutter which detracts from your little cherub/monkey/troublebum (delete as appropriate).

8. Timing

Choose your photo opportunity wisely and pick a time when you know they won’t be grumpy. In our household, this means avoiding taking photos after the school run or just after they have woken after an afternoon nap. Best times are normally directly after food (which could be any time of the day, given the number of snacks my kids’ request).

9. Sports mode

Children very rarely keep still, less so if you are armed with a camera. Even if you don’t own a Digital SLR, most cameras often have a sports mode (picture of a man running) which effectively means a fast shutter speed. Use this when taking photos of kids to help reduce the blur.

10. Focus on the eyes

Viewers of a photo are always drawn to the eyes.  If you have the type of camera phone or camera that allows you to focus on a specific area, then choose eyes as the focus point. It makes for a more dramatic photo.

Over to you

Thanks for checking out my Top Ten List. Do you have any tips that you would like to share about ‘ How to take photos of your children?’.