Tips for taking photos of kids who don't want their picture taken

Sunday, May 17, 2015

My kids love swimming at our local pool. Now I can access Shaw Go wifi, I'm happy to stay longer than I used to (ok, does that make me a bad parent, watching your kids swim for two hours is exceedingly boring). Armed with my iPad and my camera I can outlast them.

Of course, J still won't let me take pictures of him, even at the pool. I'm not sure why he is this way as I've had a camera in my hand as long as I remember, perhaps he's looking for a bribe?

I've heard about these moms on that pay their kids with chocolate to pose for them. That sounds like a totally expensive and 'bad for your dentist bills' type of idea. Instead I go with the the "when you'll older you'll want to look at pictures of what you did when you were young to remember things". It totally works for the girls, who can't stop posing.

But doesn't work for my son. I have to hope he is too distracted with playing with the others, and then quickly squeeze off several frames hoping something is in focus. I know I'm not the only photographer mom to have this issue so here are a few tips for taking pictures of kids who don't want their picture taken.

Tips for taking pictures of kids who don't want their pictures taken

  1. Do it anyway (in the hope they'll give up resisting the camera).
  2. Create a distraction or have someone create one for you.
  3. Use a flip out screen, drop the camera away from your eye and frame the shoot, look at them not the camera and press the shutter. Don't worry if your horizon gets crooked like mine did. You can straighten in post if needed.
  4. Use electronic shutter/silent mode. Yay for mirrorless cameras. Most have an electronic shutter option. It goes without saying to turn off the focus assist lamp and the focus beep too.
  5. Take a picture without their face in the frame or where their face is blurry or deliberately obscured. Sounds weird but capturing their hands doing or holding something can still be a great memory.
  6. Get them to decide the terms of the photo. Sometimes my kids want me to document a particular action, trick or skill. Anything is better than nothing, and sometimes what they do is amusing.
  7. Chimp with them. Show them the great shots and offer to delete any that are less flattering, this builds trust when they see what you're doing and that you aren't going to embarrass them in some way.
  8. Bribery.


Don't give up trying to take pictures of your kids, it's why many of us bought a camera in the first place. Try to figure out the limits of what you child will allow and always think about how else you might be able to get a shot, even if it means being a little sneaky.

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