How to Take Good Pictures of Children

by | Mar 28, 2012 | Tips & Tricks | 3 comments

I had the fun and awesome privilege of visiting Casa Hogar Orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico last weekend! One of my main purposes for being there was to take pictures of the children to use for websites, calendars and other fundraising projects. Because it was such an amazing day of shooting, I wanted to share some of the pictures and a few things I’ve learned over the years about how to take good pictures of children.

1. Use a zoom lens.

90% of the time while I was at the orphanage last weekend, I was shooting with my 70-200mm lens. Why? Because it allowed me to isolate the child, get rid of the many background distractions, and bring all the attention to one subject.

8095_Canon EOS 40D, 200 mm, 1-500 sec at f - 5.6, ISO 200

2. Make Sure They are Looking at the Camera

I’ve learned that the most dynamic images of people are those in which the person is looking at the camera. This typically doesn’t happen by itself. Learn a few key phrases in the language of the country you’re photographing in—even learn the names of the children if you can—and ask them to look at the camera when you are ready to take the shot. I usually take three or four images at different focal lengths, making sure each one of them is perfectly focused, and then give the subject a smile and a thumbs up to let them know that I got the picture that I want.

8206_Canon EOS 40D, 200 mm, 1-200 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 200

3. Capture Emotions

Children are often not afraid to show their emotions in from of the camera. Don’t be intrusive, but don’t forget to look for extreme emotions that children will more readily display. It makes for dramatic images, and evokes emotion in the viewer. 

8172_Canon EOS 40D, 200 mm, 1-250 sec at f - 5.6, ISO 400

4. Find Creative Angles

They’re children! Capture them doing what children love to do! It makes for fun pictures and makes your pictures more interesting to look at. Primary colors of saturated red, yellow, and blue are also good to include in images of children.

8028_Canon EOS 40D, 200 mm, 1-160 sec at f - 5.6, ISO 200

For more pictures of my trip to the orphanage, view my Picasa Web album.

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  1. Bethany

    Those tips are helpful, especially since I have 4 younger siblings =)

    Cute pictures, btw!

  2. Jessica

    Thanks for posting such practical stuff!! Very helpful and fascinating. 🙂

    • James Staddon

      One time, someone told me that if I posted the kind of stuff that I would take the time to read, than others would take the time to read it too. So I’m grateful for the people who have critiqued my work and helped me along the way; I’m just passing it on!


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