Photo Tips with Emilie: Photographing Children

I came across a fabulous Utah photographer and she’s going to be post a monthly photography tip. She specializes in children photography and educating the Mommy Photographer.

Here is a photo of Emilie and Santa. She has it hanging in the studio and claims that she is one of his live-away-from-the-north-pole-elves and reports all good smilers to Santa directly.

Here’s her tip…
One of the more difficult challenges when photographing little one is keeping them in one place long enough to snap your shutter. Do you have a busy busy little one? No matter what you do you can’t snap quick enough to get a good photo!?! I’ve got some tricks for you.

Here are a few of my best trick and tips to get great images
of challenging little ones.

1. Bribe Them. There’s nothing that gets results like a good old fashioned bribe. My favorite bribing tool are Smarties. Smarties are great for several reasons, there are lots of them per package for a maximum bribe time, they dissolve quickly & don’t stain or color little mouths.

Another fun bribe trick are Pez dispensers. If your trim off their little feet they slide right into your camera flash hub. This is an excellent way to keep little ones focused on the camera. Again, lots of them per package for a maximum bride time.

2. For those little runners out there. Kids that won’t sit still is one of my most common challenges. My best solution is to put your little ones on a chair. Little legs can’t run away if they are sitting on chair. Use the Smarties as a reward for not dashing away.

Here are some examples…

The chair also adds some fun vintage style to this image.

Instead of a chair we used a dresser, same concept.
Look how darling her little feet look crossed like a princess.

2 above images – Same shoot, different chairs,
different way to use the chair both help me control
one busy little boy and a busier little puppy.

Not a chair, but the same concept. This busy little one
can’t go anywhere. Not to mention how the cute buggy
really ads to the image.

Again, not a chair but the same concept.

Using a chair in a family image is really fun too.
This little gal was about 1 year old and LOVED sitting in a
chair just her size. She would have sat in that chair
and let me take her pix for hours. I got some great
family shots and then mom and dad moved out of the shot
and I got some real cute smile ones of just her in the chair.

Again, not a chair but the same concept. She was
so mesmerized by this bowl and just sat and let me snap away.

Again, not a chair but the same concept. This is my
and he thought sitting in this tire was so cool
and just smiled and smiled. This tire made my job so
easy and that’s what I’m look for during every session.

Doubling up on a chair works great too. Sometimes it’s
difficult to get kids to stand close to each other, they
are just too wiggly. When photographing little
ones compositionally it looks better to have them
fairly close together. Having them both sit on a chair
allows you to pose kids close without any effort allowing
them to just sit back and grin.

Need I say anything about this last one?

3. What if they just want to run? When you can’t stop them – join them. Find a cute backdrop and turn it into a runnin game, have your kids run toward and away from the camera. I think running photos are just darling. After about 15 minutes of this game (and oodles of darling photos) they’ll be ready for that chair.

Here are some examples…


Same concept but dancing instead of running.

Capturing Mom and Dad in the foreground and
background tells more of a story.

A whole family walking. This shot also looks so cute
walking towards the camera. I typically shoot something like
this about half way through the session, the kids love it
and allows them a little break from following posing directions
which buys me some additional time.

This is a fun variation, I had these little kids running toward the
camera and this was the
last shot I got. Just look at their
faces, they are having a great time.

Here’s another variation. The concept is the same to
allow kids to run, move and play. All you’ll need to do
is set it up so you can capture a great shot.

Love Love Love this variation.

Line them up and march them. It took us a few times to
get just the right spacing but these kids loved it.

Like this little sweetie, sometimes no matter what
tricks you try they just want to move. I spent most
of the session following her snapping when
she turned my way. I had a packet of smarties in my
hand which dramatically increased the amount she turned
toward me. This image really captures her little free spirit.

Children photography is more than just having a nice camera or perfect lighting it’s also about knowing how to create an environment where you can capture the spirit of your little ones. The more tricks you have up your sleeve the more ability you’ll have to create an environment where children are authentically having fun and capturing that in your images.
Happy Snapping!!

To See Emilie Blog Click Here
To learn more about Emilie’s Workshops Click Here

Thanks Emilie! What great tips! Anything to help us capture those sweet little faces right! Thanks for joining the Blue Cricket Family! We look forward to seeing you each month and learning how we too can improve our photo skills!

Find out how you can become a guest poster HERE!


  1. 1

    These are all GREAT tips! Emilie, You rally have an amazing eye for pictures! I am excited to see more!

    Thanks! :)

  2. 2
    Amy {The Red Chair Blog} says:

    Wonderful tips!! Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. 3

    you take awesome pictures, love your angles. love the tips those are very helpful!! where do you get all those cool chairs!?!

  4. 4

    Great tips and great photographs!

  5. 5

    the penny just dropped! now i know why the photographer put my 3 and 5 year old a step ladder when they were getting "over excited"!!

  6. 6
    ificould says:

    Just got a new camera and I've been trying to get good pictures of my kiddos. Thanks for the tips!!

  7. 7

    Awesome tips! Thanks for sharing!

  8. 8

    It`s really nice article. Thank u a lot

  9. 9

    Is anybody think same about it? Can we disscuse this?

  10. 10
    Tamara Motschenbacher says:

    I love your Pez idea.
    Thanks sharing

    T Mots

  11. 11
    Heather! says:

    Wonderful! Thanks for sharing these!

  12. 12

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