Monday, January 19, 2015

How To Photograph Your Kids Indoors

Although taking photos of your children is often easier outside with natural light, there are a few ways to make it possible to do this well in your home without a flash. From cuddling on couches reading books to helping with the baking and crafting away, there's always precious moments to capture with your camera.

Three tips for photographing your kids indoors are:

1.  Take photos when they are sitting still.  

I know, it may seem impossible, but you know when you see them playing nicely and quietly with something? That's your chance! Don't force it, just catch it when it happens.  Also, the simpler the background, the better.  

Siblings sitting on the couch

Girl playing with nativity scene in front of Christmas tree

Don't forget to capture those little details like their little toes...

Little toes

...and their favourite blankie and how they like to hold it.

Toddler girl holding a special blanket

2. Recognize your light sources and have the kids facing them

This first picture shows the set up of our main room. We spend most of our time here as a family. You can see the giant south facing windows. These are the main source of light that I use. I like to put myself between the window and the child that I am photographing. In the following photos the kids are facing the light of various windows and doors in our home.

Father and son reading a book

Siblings on a toy car

I put my kids in the stairs a lot.  It keeps them sitting still and they are facing the door with the giant window.

Siblings sitting on the stairs

I love when they play in front of the window.  This ended well, don't worry!

Kids jumping on the couch

If the light is behind your subject like the picture below, they often appear very dark and underexposed. What you can do is manually overexpose it in the camera. You will see a meter when looking through the viewfinder, scroll up a stop (number) or so. You can't do this if shooting in automatic mode.

Children sitting in front of the Christmas tree

How to manually overexpose on your camera

You can move the marker up to the `1' or at least towards it.  If it is really bright, you can move it in the opposite direction to underexpose it a bit.

3. Use a prime lens with a large aperture (low f-stop). 

We have a 50mm f/1.4 that I use all the time with my kids. I have this lens on my camera and in my purse whenever we go out because it's small and great in low light situations. You can't always take photos of your kids during the day so this lens is great for the evening when your house is a little darker inside. The lower the f number, the more light a lens can let in.  Now this one is a bit pricey so I almost always recommend someone get the 50mm f/1.8 as I believe it's the best quality for the price as it's usually just over $100.00. One thing you do need to know about prime lenses is that you cannot zoom with them, you need to move your body in order to zoom in or out.

4. If you are shooting in really low light, it helps to put your camera on a tripod or solid surface. 

You might think you are holding your camera steady but you're not a tripod. If you do not have a surface to put it on, make sure you have a stable stance with legs slightly apart and wait until after you exhale. 

I hope these tips will help you feel a little more comfortable taking photos of those lively little ones in your life. Do you have any other tips that you want to add? How about bribing them with chocolate chips?  

As always, I'd love to see you on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.


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Sometimes photographing our kids indoors is tricky with lack of light and how quickly they  move. Here are some tips for you!


  1. I really need to learn how to work my camera... Ugh i just took so many notes lol I am off to go play with my camera now lol!

    1. Have fun playing with it! It's so worth it to get more and more comfortable with it. HOpe you get some great images :)

  2. Anonymous9:48 AM

    Love these tips! I find I'm always playing around with my iso and aperture, I guess I could be a little more smart about it and use light to my advantage. xxoo Tairalyn {Shanalisa's sister}

    1. Tairalyn-thanks! I love light! And you're hilarious putting who's sister you are in there, I only know one Tairalyn! Great meeting you the other day, I love putting a voice to your face. Your personality matches your hair :)

  3. What great tips! I have a DSLR but really need to start playing around with it off automatic mode. You have some amazing pictures of your kids here and I will be putting some of these tips to use for sure ( when I get m courage to take the camera off auto, that is)

    1. Yes, just play with it! It feels great to become more comfortable with your camera. Have fun :)

  4. Love that picture of Nya jumping to Koen!!

    1. Katrina-me too :) It's so cute how Koen thinks he's helping to catch her!

  5. Awesome tips! Thanks... Also I once had a shirt that said Talk Nerdy to Me and nobody "got it" so glad to see it's finally catching on.

    1. I first saw it on a shirt in 2004 and loved it right away :)

  6. These are great tips. I got the 50 mm f1.8 and love it (based on your recommendation, I might add). Could you share what type of camera body you have? My T3i has been great, but because it's lower end, the ISO maxes out at 6400 the pictures get prett grainy (we don't have a lot of natural light in the evening when I get home and I'm feeling creative). Do the more professional bodies do better in the low light, or is it mostly technique?

    1. Hey Mr. H :) We have a Canon 5d mark iii. Professional bodies do waaaaay better in low light. I noticed a huge change from just the 5d to the 5d markiii. If you are not upgrading your body, I recommend maxing your ISO at maybe 1800 but placing your camera on a tripod or solid surface, that will help you to get a better photo at night!

  7. This is me to my husband
    'Can you set up your camera for me? I'm taking pictures in the living room/bedroom/etc etc'
    He humours me so well and sets up the camera just perfectly..of course he also will edit my photos lol. So lucky!
    Your kids are so sweet and the photo of your daughter jumping/falling forward with her eyes closed. Fantastic.

    1. Andrea-that was me too! Then I decided about 7 years ago to figure it all out and I'm so glad I did! You can do it :)

  8. Thanks for the tips. And I love the toes too!

  9. Great tips! I need a better camera. :) I just have a point-and-click and I get frustrated by blurry pictures of my kids. Using the light is a great idea. Thanks!