Photographing Kids Tip 4: Setting Up a Shoot

Katherine Shultz brings immense maturity to her photographs, far beyond her 16 years. It’s hard to believe someone of so little years can produce such vision through photographs.  Through some tough times, Katherine has found solace in capturing moments around her. For the fourth post in the photographing kids series, I’m thrilled to have Katherine share some of the tips she’s picked up after a year of pursuing photography.  Please make her feel very welcome.


You want some photos of your children, but they won’t hold still long enough to pose for the shot? I am quite certain those who take photos, regardless of whether they are a photographer or not, have encountered this problem. Thankfully, over the course of the past year, I’ve picked up some tricks along the way that may help you get some photographs that don’t go straight to the recycle bin.

1. Can you see a dinosaur/fairy in the lens?

For younger children, this one works wonders. For older children, I simply ask them to look deep into the lens, and tell me what they can see. It almost always produces the cutest expressions.

2. Show me what you’re doing.

Children get up to some fun and exciting things. Sure, photos of them posed and smiling are nice, but I also love to capture what they are doing at a particular point in time. For candid moments, try following them around with your camera, ask what they are doing or get them to show you something special. By simply following my gorgeous cousin as she danced on the front lawn, I snapped this photo:

3. Standing back.

If you’re lucky enough to have a zoom lens, look for moments around you. Stand back for a little while when your subject is relaxed. You are looking for people interacting, people laughing, people crying. All those candid moments produce beautiful photographs you will most definitely treasure in the years to come. Although my example isn’t exactly of a child, I love that I was able to capture this moment. So much emotion:

4. Walk a few paces behind your subject.

This is a variation of “standing back”. Try to hang a few paces behind your subject, and sometimes it will give you a beautiful candid moment.

5. Okay, pose.

There is no denying it: it’s absolutely great to get candid shots of smiling kids doing what they love. However, sometimes you just want a portrait. Plain and simple. Just before I snap away, I like to tell my siblings, “Okay, show me your bestest smile in the world,” or, “Look here just for a little bit.” After a while (they have been my personal models for over 12 months) they get the picture and usually stand and smile. However, if your kiddos aren’t used to this, try telling them if they stand/sit for a few photos, you will show them the beautiful image after :). It almost always works as they love to see themselves on the computer/camera screen after.

Some general tips for taking portrait photographs:

1. To make it exciting for children, ask them to dress in something they love to wear. That way they will feel more comfortable.

2. Dress ups! This works for photographs of girls, especially. Because personally, I think girls in tutus, and fairy outfits produce beautiful portraits.

3. Natural, hazy light. Try shooting an hour or so before sundown. The light is generally heart-stoppingly gorgeous.

4. Don’t push it. If they don’t want their photo taken, don’t push it. Otherwise it may end in the child growing to hate the camera… and you definitely don’t want that.

5. Angles. Try “out there” angles. Play around a bit. Try using a tri-pod. Pick up your cam and play around!

6. Half face. I have a weakness for these. Try shooting half of your child’s face when they are sitting/standing still.

7. HAVE FUN! Just relax. You smile, they smile.  You laugh, they laugh.  Just have fun with the whole process :).


“You smile, they smile.  You laugh, they laugh.  Just have fun with the whole process.” — Katherine Shultz

Follow Katherine

Blog: Those Bliss Moments

Facebook: Katherine Shultz Photography

Twitter: @ksphotoblog

Be A Fun Mum Links

Photographing Kids Tip 1: Capturing a Child’s Essence

Photographing Kids Tip 2: Rule of Thirds 

Photographing Kids Tip 3: The Background

Photographing Kids Tip 4: Setting Up a Shoot

Photographing Kids Tip 5: Perspective

My Camera

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Kelly loves life at both ends of the spectrum: wearing high heel shoes one day and hiking boots the next; sipping tea out of a pretty cup and slurping hot coffee from a camping mug; challenging herself physically and stopping for quiet unhurried moments to feel the wind on her face. Kelly and her husband Matthew seek to live a fun and adventurous life with their four children and pet bird.

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  1. Nanny Long, says

    You are so gifted Katherine,I will enjoy any future hints and tips that you give,
    Your photos are truly beautifull.

  2. Bonnie says

    Hi Katherine! Your photos are lovely!

    I’ve never tried the half face picture. Would it work on a normal, snap shot camera or do you need something that can zoom in?

  3. says

    Kelly, thankyou so much for letting me appear on your beautiful site. It is truly an honor and a half :)

    Bonnie, you can most definitely use a snap shot camera, just position your subject and snap away.

    And i highly recommend the hour before sundown. Soft, lovely light.

    A million thanks to you Kelly.

    Much love,


  4. says

    Amazing! So wise for someone so young. I am going to share this with some young moms that I know since they love taking photo’s of their kids. Great interview!

  5. says

    Thanks for the tips Katherine. Your photos are gorgeous. I will have to try some of these tips. My photography leaves a lot to be desired but I love that with digital you get so many chances!

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