Professional photographs can’t be beaten.  Of course I am biased – I am a professional photographer. And, I need to eat and to pay my bills. But using a professional photographer all the time is not practical or affordable. Taking good photographs of your children can be challenging but I am here to help you make sure the photographs are as good as they can be, so you have some lovely keepsakes. 

To start the ball rolling and to add a bit of reality, it’s important to know you probably won’t be a Da Vinci, Einstein, Adams, Hotere, Renoir, Liebovitz, (etc) overnight. It takes years to perfect an art. Here are some tips to get you up and snapping.


Firstly, trust yourself. 

Anyone can take photographs, however, don’t expect to take the perfect photograph every time you pick up your camera – doing so takes lots of practice so take your camera with you often and make the most of everyday opportunities.  It helps to know about your equipment and how to make it work for you, so time spent working this out won’t be wasted. Lots of organisations offer photography courses that will assist in this area.

Taking good photographs of your children

Secondly, carpe diem and capture that moment.

  • Modern cameras have the ability to take lots of images in a short time and the ones you don’t like, you can delete without spending too much time or money.
  • Just start somewhere – waiting around for everyone to say ‘cheese’ can spoil the moment and result in lots of fake looking expressions.
  • It’s getting easier and easier to manipulate the photographs on a basic computer to ensure that you get just what you want, so you don’t necessarily need to see the perfect shot on the back of your camera, you can work with it later.
  • Don’t forget to regularly download those images so that you don’t lose them or the format that they are saved in. It’s also a good idea to get into the habit of getting images printed so that you don’t just end up with thousands of images that no one ever sees.

Taking good photographs of your children

Thirdly, get in close to your subject, at the subject’s level, and ‘plant’ yourself.

Avoid that jiggle. While lots of modern cameras have motion stabilisers in them, don’t expect the camera to compensate for you running or hopping on one foot while taking a photograph. Stand still and make sure that you’re ready to take the pictures you want.

Taking good photographs of your children

Fourthly, check your light.

Although taking a photograph into direct sun light may result in an interesting photograph, it is far better to position yourself with light on your back and have the subject in front of you with light on them; you will also reduce the shadows on the subject. If you are going to use a flash, know what its capabilities are – I don’t know of any built-in flash that is going to help take a photograph from the back of a stadium when your subject looks like a ‘speck’ on the faraway stage.

Fifthly, don’t clutter your photograph.

Ask yourself what you are wanting to capture – do you really need the house / the fence / the flower / the cat etc. in the photograph when you really only want a photograph of Baby Joe? Although it’s easy to crop images, they will still look better if you consider the composition as you take the image.

Taking good photographs of your children


Sixthly, practise, practise, practise!

It’s easy to upskill yourself: search the internet, watch YouTube video clips, do a community night class, join a photography club. Information is readily and easily available to improve your photography skills.

Finally, if you pay for a good photographer – shop around and/or get a referral from someone you know.

Don’t always be directed by price, rather, have a look at what the photographer can deliver (usually they will have a website showcasing their work). If you do want go with a ‘registered’ professional photographer, who will stand by their name and reputation, a NZIPP photographer is the way to go. These photographers have had to ‘pass the bar’ of photography and are truly masterful in their art. You can also check out this tips about getting professional photographs taken.

Taking good photographs of your children is certainly not impossible and it’s a great skill to develop. Don’t be afraid to take a zillion photos along the way – there’s always a delete button!

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Rachel Binning is a full-time jack-of-all-trades who has an extensive background within the health sector. She now wholeheartedly agrees with ex US President, Bill Clinton that “the toughest job in the world isn’t being a president. It’s being a parent”. Rachel juggles being a mum of two active boys with her business, Bella Photography, volunteer work for many and varied organisations that support families, and contributes weekly to community newspapers throughout Wellington.

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