I love taking pictures. It’s sort of an obsession a hobby of mine and I’m rarely without a camera. There’s just something about capturing those special moments, big and small, in a photograph that really just tickles my fancy. I always enjoy the reminiscing that occurs while digging through old photographs. This is especially true now that I have children of my own. I’ve probably taken more pictures since my oldest daughter was born 4 years ago than all the years prior combined.

There are many resources out there for us amateurs that provide all sorts of useful tips and tricks for getting those great shots of our kids. Let’s face it; it’s not always easy to get them to do what we want, when we want, just for that “perfect” picture. Well, today I’m going to share with you some of the most helpful pieces of advice I’ve found, and put into practice, thus far. The great news is that you don’t need to be a professional photographer in order to get professional quality pictures of your kiddos.

1. Have your camera ready  at all times. This should be a fairly easy one. I mean, come on. Most cell phones are equipped with cameras these days. Keep your camera or cell phone easily accessible in your pocket or purse. Often times the best picture ops come when you least expect it. I have a really nice, professional, and large camera but I specifically purchased a small point and shoot camera for this very reason. This is a great way to get those candid shots of your kids doing some of their favorite activities. Side note: if you’re feeling like you need some inspiration, check out this idea for 31 Days of Kid Photos  and challenge yourself to take as many of these shots as you can! There’s a list of 31 one word photo suggestions. It’s a great way to mix it up a little and inspire some creativity!

Day on the Farm - May 2014

Glad I had my cell phone ready to snap this one! (Photo by C. Corrigan)

This was taken with my cell phone. It's not the best quality, but I really love this shot! (Photo by C. Corrigan)

This was taken with my cell phone. It’s not the best quality, but I really love this shot! (Photo by C. Corrigan)

2. Try to capture different point of views. You can get some really cute photos just from standing behind your child. That’s actually one of my favorite go-to for when my girls just aren’t in the mood to pose for pictures. Go ahead and live on the edge… experiment with angles. You might find yourself pleasantly surprised!

Following the leader!  (Photo by C. Corrigan)

Following the leader! (Photo by C. Corrigan)

Checking out the farm. (Photo by C. Corrigan)

Checking out the farm. (Photo by C. Corrigan)

3. Set the stage and DO NOT let your kids know you’re trying to take a picture. If there’s a certain picture you’re itching to get, this is a good way to make it happen. For example, if you really want to snap a picture of your little one painting away like Picasso, have everything laid out the way you want it ahead of time (this includes the lighting). They’ll be so involved in what they’re doing that they won’t focus on the fact that you’re snapping their picture.

I really wanted to get a good picture of my girls feeding some farm animals! (Photo by C. Corrigan)

I really wanted to get a good picture of my girls feeding some farm animals! (Photo by C. Corrigan)

4. Take pictures of all of their moods. Don’t limit it to just the “sunshine and smiles” shots. Sure, it’s always nice to look back at pictures of your kids smiling, but it’s also pretty nice to incorporate some variety. That pictures of your little one throwing a raging temper tantrum because you chose the “wrong” socks for her to wear will be a humorous photo you might just find yourself treasuring for years to come.

Little Miss Attitude (Photo by C. Corrigan)

Little Miss Attitude (Photo by C. Corrigan)

5. Take a break and be silly! You can capture some adorable smiles by putting down the camera to afford a few minutes of tickling, telling jokes,  or acting super goofy to get some laughs. Then, pick up the camera and start clicking away. The best part about the pictures you’ll get after doing this will be that those smiles will be genuine instead of forced. I’ve found that using the whole “say cheese” thing is usually overrated. The smiles usually look really forced and, sometimes, even creepy. Just sayin’…

(Photo by C. Corrigan)

Tickle time! (Photo by C. Corrigan)

6. Don’t push it. If your kids aren’t cooperating and are obviously in no mood to have their picture taken, it’s best to just give it a rest. If you tell them, “Just one more and we’re done!” make sure you actually follow through. You certainly don’t want your kids to resent having their picture taken. I think could quite possibly be one of the most important pieces advice when it comes to photographing your kids. When your kids have had enough, there’s really no point in pressing on. Chances are you are not going to the picture you’re looking for. Instead you’ll end up with grumpy children who might not be so willing to let you take their picture next time.

It's exhausting having your pictures taken! (Photo by C. Corrigan)

It’s exhausting having your pictures taken! (Photo by C. Corrigan)

Try out some (or all!) of these tips and I’ll guarantee you’re going to have more photo-book worthy snapshots than you know what to do with!

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