In Photography on
February 8, 2018

Capturing Everyday Family Moments: Photographing Children When They Don’t Want To Cooperate

photographing your children, capturing everyday moments

Hello, Moms & Dads!! This week, I’ll be doing another in-depth post on photographing childhood memories. When it comes to pictures, as we get older we begin to relive some of our most amazing moments through these photos. Why not do the same for your children? If your children aren’t as spontaneous and get a little camera shy, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking them and crafting an activity for the sole purpose of taking photos. If you haven’t already, please check out this earlier blog on photography and children’s self-esteem. It’s a great read and can help aid in your child coming out of their shell.

capturing everyday family moments

When photographing raw childhood moments rule number one: don’t be afraid of messes. This is always the best part! How can you have authentic childhood photos without allowing authentic messes!

Don’t worry about the hair or the clothes–let your children be children! Taking the kids outside for an adventure always yields spectacular results!!

I keep a lot of expired film around the house, so when I see my children doing something amazing, but they don’t really want to be photographed, I will pick up my film camera with expired film and shoot anyway. I will try to stand back so that they will at least continue what they’re doing. It may take about a week or so to go through the roll, but I can usually catch them off guard and after a little bit of silliness they will settle down and forget the cameras in my hand and continue with what they are doing.

When it comes to photographing childhood there are no rules except to capture the moment. Your children may not always want you to photograph them. They may run from the camera, hide their faces or cry. Snap a photo and put down the camera if you must. But try to capture something. I make it my mission to take a picture of the children randomly at least once a week. I like to capture them as they grow. And to be honest, my children are pretty amazing with a ton of unique quirks that I just have to photography. Remember, your capturing your family’s story. Tell it like it is!!


  1. Capture their frowns, smiles and even running away.
  2. Be patient (if it’s not working, walk away).
  3. Let them guide you.
  4. Get down to their eye level.
  5. Capture them in their element.


If they are being shy and don’t want to face the camera, but really want to take pictures (yes I know it’s weird, but it happens. I’ve photographed over 3,000 children and trust me, this is a thing!

Give them something to hold and place peek-a-boo. These confetti balloons are all the rage now, so head over to your favorite store and pick one up.

This balloon was the perfect icebreaker when Audrey was getting into one of her rare shy moods.

In no time she was warming up and beginning to cooperate.


I love when my children want to pick out their own clothes and ask for a quick photo session. Audrey is really getting into the habit of creating various outfits and starting to embrace her own fashion sense.


Camera Gear: 

I use a variety of digital and film cameras for my work and personal photography. If you are interested, my gear is listed below. I’ll discuss more my film photography in a later post.

My camera bag:

Canon 5D MK III

Canon 50 1.2L

Canon 85 1.2L

Sigma Art 35 1.4 for Canon

Mother of two, photographer, and fitness enthusiast hoping to inspire others to live healthy.

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  • Reply Karla

    I have not been the best at photographing my kids lately. I will pull out my camera for the big stuff but I love the idea of pictures of outfits they pick out and things because it is who they are.

    February 11, 2018 at 5:49 pm
  • Reply Tiffany

    Great tips! I like your photos and your balloon prop idea. The best photos capture the moment and personality.

    February 12, 2018 at 5:00 pm
  • Reply Becky Willis

    These are all great tips. Kids can be tough to photograph, but it is wonderful to capture as many memories as possible. The good and the bad lol.

    February 12, 2018 at 7:58 pm
  • Reply Carmen

    I think the best picture are when they don’t except them. I’m looking for a new camera is yours a love?

    February 12, 2018 at 8:03 pm
  • Reply Sahar

    I love pictures of children, especially mine 😛 I’m grateful for my phone, it’s such a part of our lives that I get away with taking pictures all the time. But I do want to start taking shots with a legit camera… Let’s hope that works out 😉

    February 12, 2018 at 9:01 pm
  • Reply Jessica Hughes

    These are such great tips. I think some of the greatest photos I have of my littles were captured when they were not cooperating as they show their personalities and quirks.

    Jessica Hughes recently posted…How We’re Staying Healthy this SpringMy Profile

    February 13, 2018 at 12:37 am
  • Reply Barbara Alfeo

    Oh my gosh- such good advice! And so true about the messes. I feel like I am always kicking things away.

    February 13, 2018 at 5:27 am
  • Reply Blair villanueva

    Bribeing them also works!
    You are so patient and truly your passions shows on your photographs.

    February 13, 2018 at 10:19 am
    • Reply Nicole Caudle

      My kids don’t fall for the bribery anymore…😂😂😂 my oldest ask for payment now.

      February 19, 2018 at 1:43 pm
  • Reply Valerie

    These are some great tips! For me, I have noticed if my 3-year-old naps before the session, she’s great and so happy and bubbly 🙂

    February 14, 2018 at 8:28 am
  • Reply Claire

    Great tips! My kids never want to cooperate!

    February 15, 2018 at 3:49 am
  • Reply Kristen Seikaly

    These are so precious! I’m sure your whole family will cherish these forever. Thank you for passing the tips and knowledge on!

    February 15, 2018 at 2:02 pm
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