March 30, 2020 by Aline Stern Families, Uncategorized 0

How to capture great pictures of your kids

How to capture great pictures of your kids

Hi there! Chances are you are stuck at home right now. If you are reading this blog you are probably at home with your kids and maybe your partner or your pets. You may want to use this time to get better at a skill or maybe you just want to document what is going on right now. Either way, in this blog post I have some advice on how to take great pictures of your family – not on vacation or in the studio but in your home or while you are out on your walks and hikes.

Now first off – I am at home and homeschooling my own two kids so trust me, I don’t have time for elaborate photoshoots right now. This is not my goal for this blog post. This post is about how to capture your everyday life. The pictures are supposed to be natural and really capture your kids’ spirit (this is my goal for my family photo shoots too). You don’t need props or fancy equipment. I used three different kinds of cameras for this blog post: my professional cameras (Canon 5d Mk III and 5d Mk IV), my mirrorless “vacation” camera (Fuji XT-3), and my iPhone 8 Plus camera. Can you spot the difference?

Here are my tips for getting great pictures of your family:

Search for the light

Is there a place in your house that has amazing light in the morning or the evening? Where does the sunlight come through the trees at the park by your house? Keep an eye out for this magic light and then if you see it, use it, experiment with it. I love to backlight my subjects – that means that the light is behind your child, giving them a soft glow around the edges. On the other hand you can get gorgeous light if the light shines straight on your kid, illuminating them. Turn off the overhead lights and see where your window light comes in at which time.

If the light behind your child is bright and there is nothing between you and your kid, it will create a silhouette. If there is something partially blocking the light, say a tree, the light will filter and give a softer glow.

This picture is backlit only by window light
Backlit through trees
I created a silhouette by having my kids in shadow with the light behind them.
Soft window light, illuminating the face
Same window light

Capture emotion

Try and capture it all: the laughs, the tears, the hugs after a booboo, the exhaustion after a tickle fight.

How do you do that? Two things – DON’T ask your kids to “say cheese” and look in the camera, and take lots and lots of pictures so they get used to having their own paparazzi. Make fart noises. Those will get any kid older than three to smile (as well as most husbands). Photograph them in their element, doing what they love.

Celebrate color – or black and white

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram you probably know that I love color. Nothing makes me happier than a vibrant picture but sometimes turning a picture black and white makes it really pop.

Reasons to choose color:

  1. You have a monochrome landscape and your child’s colorful outfit makes them stand out.
  2. You love the colors of the environment – for example Spring colors, the lake, the sky.
  3. To capture the beauty of the light.
I could have made this picture black and white to hide the mess but I actually wanted people to see it – I wanted to give a glimpse into our daily life. I wanted to take a picture of chaos and an exhausted toddler.
Kids drawing and painting are always a great idea

Reasons to choose black and white:

  1. You have a busy background and don’t want to take away from your subject.
  2. To hide a mess.
  3. To set a mood (dark editing and black and white always make a picture seem moody).
  4. The lighting makes the colors in the picture look less than ideal (for example overhead light makes everything look slightly yellow).

Change your perspective and focus on details

If you feel stuck in a rut with your pictures, try changing perspective.

  1. Lay down on the floor. See the world like your kids see it.
  2. Take a picture from an unusual angle, like from above.
  3. Look for details, focus on the hands or feet.

Now, give yourself a challenge. This coming week, try to take a picture following one or more of my tips.

  1. Find the perfect light in your home and take a picture of your kid utilizing that glorious light – either backlit or lighting the face.
  2. Take a picture of your kids doing something they love and capture their emotions/expressions.
  3. Use color to frame your subject.
  4. Take a busy scene put your kid at the center and make it black and white. See what you prefer.
  5. Take a picture from a different angle. Take a picture from above or while laying on the ground.

If you have Instagram, please post a picture and tag @alinesternphotography in it! Or send me a picture to – let me know if I can post it with your name! I would love to see all your pictures!

Also comment here with more ideas for future posts. I am thinking of doing one with links to understand your camera better and to help you all with editing your pictures. I am also going to give little tips here and there on Instagram and Facebook so follow me on:

Have fun and stay safe you all!