6 Tips To Take Candid Photos Of Your Kids

As a mother the days can go by so fast and before we know it our kids aren’t babies or toddlers anymore. Shoot one day they won’t even be kids at all. They will be all grown up and hopefully moved out.

But until then we can capture all the memories and document our days now. If your wondering what I mean by document your days. It’s pretty much just taking snip it’s throughout the day of your regular life with your family.

It doesn’t require posing or bribery. It doesn’t require matching outfits or fancy gear. Just you, your kids and something to take photos with.

Think of it as an visual autobiography of your motherhood. The good, the tantrums, the messes, the laughs and everything in between.

To help you document your days the best you can I’m sharing some tips and tricks below to help you capture creative shots that tell the story of your life.

Capture the whole scene

When it comes to documenting your days you don’t want to interrupt or always be in your kids faces with a camera. Keeping a distance and watching with your camera allows you to capture them in their natural state.

Your able to capture the world around them and showcase how little they really were. Don’t worry about the mess to much. It’s part of your days and your not doing a professional photoshoot. Just documenting life.

Here my boys are just hanging out in their playroom playing… peacefully I might add. This showcases how little they are compared to the room.
Filling up his bucket with water to work on his sand castle. This angle I was able to capture his face and the board walk.
Walking through a petting zoo. One day he will be taller than the fences. But for not he’s not.
Capturing the whole couch helps bring out how little he is in this moment.

Focus on the details

Sometimes you can tell an entire story by just focusing on the details. And sometimes it’s the tiny details we want to remember the most. Little fingers, baby eyelashes and all the simple little things.

I personally love using portrait mode on my iPhone to capture these so I can create a nice depth of field (blurry background). But if your camera doesn’t have that option it’s ok. Just get in close and focus on one thing and crop the rest out.

Here my son picked out and put on his own shoes. He grabbed a pair from two different shoes. But because he was proud we let him wear them. And so of course I had to document it with a photo. And I’m glad I did. This photo is about 3 years old now.
Naptime won’t always be a thing. One day he will put grow them. The same for his squishy baby lips and baby eyelashes.
Vroom! Little hands and hot wheels. One day his hands won’t be this little and he won’t play with toy cars anymore.
Learning to make Pb&J sandwiches. That peanut butter spreading is a task on its own. Here I got down low just almost on the table to capture the details of him making it.
Bugs for pets are common here. This was his first pet walking stick named “sticky”.

Get in the frame

Documenting your days isn’t just taking photos of your kids. It’s about getting in the frame too. All the adults who are in your kids daily lives.

If your unsure how to get yourself in the frame. I recommend using a phone tripod and shutter remote so you can easily prop your camera up and take the photo without having to run for a timer. I’ll link the two I use below

My hubby and oldest son love to share a glass of milk late at night. Not all the time but on occasion. It’s something special to them and they’ve been doing it for years. I snuck around the corner to capture them enjoying each other’s company.
We love board games here. This was us playing operation and I’d randomly just use my shutter remote to snap pictures. This one was him right after he got his first piece out without touching the side and buzzing himself. He was so excited!
Another tripod and shutter remote photo. To keep my kids from just staring at the camera. We play games. Like everyone look at your little brother. Or tickle who’s next you you. I even let my kids hold the shutter button and do the snapping. Then I don’t even know when the pictures are being taken myself.

Don’t forget the candid moments

As mom it’s kinda our job to watch for the cute candid moments. The ones that are kid a random or cute. The moments in between playing. Or the moment between siblings. Something that you’d normally just be in the moment for or not even notice at all being a “Kodak moment”. I suggest capturing it anyways.

These are moments that are definitely not staged. And can be anything silly or fun or random that happens during the day that you don’t want to ever forget.

This is my oldest son raising his hand during remote learning during covid -19. 10 years from now he might not remember much about this time but we will have documented it into our photo bank to look back on whenever we want.
When you play so hard that your randomly sit on the couch and take a nap. Those are the best days and the best moments.
When you love to draw and you love your teepee you taking your paper and pencil into your teepee with you. And then mom snaps a photo of you.
This is one of my favorites. My second son was helping to give my third son a kitchen sink bath and they were having a blast.
My husband doesn’t always pull out his guitar. But during corona he had some extra free time to restring it and play a little. So of course I had to capture him enjoying life and a hobby of his.

Get down at their level

This is always my biggest tip for anyone that asks how to take a photo from ehh to awesome when taking pictures of their children.

We look down at our kids all day long just because of actual height difference. But if you want to actually document your kids. Get down to their level. Don’t hold your camera above their eyes.

At their level you are actually documenting them and not just how you typically look at them. Squat, lay on the ground, sit on the floor. Whatever it is you need to do to get down to the level they are… do it. You won’t regret it. I promise!

Someone was swimming and having fun. But squatting down I was able to still capture his handsome face although he was looking down a little.
When my oldest started preschool my second son was a little lost and was missing his brother. When we’d leave he’d watch his brother for a few minutes through all the windows. At his level I was able to capture his view of the moment.
Just a big brother helping take pictures of his new baby brother. I got down to his level so I was able to capture their little world together.
Making a mess and playing with toys. This angle brings the photo down to how they see the world. It documents how it looks to them.

Change your perspective

Now I know I just said to get down at their level. But rules are meant to be broken. Well it’s not really a rule. And neither is this.

But changing your perspective can really change the way a picture tells yours story. I love taking aerial views. (Looking directly down at what’s happening) of my kids when they nap. Not sure why but I just love that view of them.

You could do it looking up at them also. But you’d need to get pretty low to capture that. But I’m sure it would be such a neat perspective.

My third son loves to drink out of my little rae dunn mugs. Especially hot cocoa. So I used a different perspective to capture him, the tiny mug and what was inside.
Yes we have chicks. Or did. They are big now. But you see how tiny they were next to all the little hands. So cute!
Here’s that napping picture I was telling you about my favorite angle to capture this moment of my kids
This was me walking my little preschooler to the bus stop. He looks so little here. And using this angle and including us holding hands helps emphasize just how little he was.
Again my favorite angle. But this one I got lucky and all 4 of my boys fell asleep. This may never ever happen again.

Here’s a quick recap of the above to make it easier for you to save an remember. Because I want you to feel comfortable in the moment as you document your days. They are worth it!

Now that we’ve talked about the tips here’s the tricks to help all that play out much easier.

The links are affiliate links so I will receive a small commission if you purchase through them but it won’t cost you anything extra. But it will help me provide for my family. So thank you if you decide to order anything I’m linking.

Day light bulbs

If your home is on the darkest side or you don’t get much natural light then I highly recommend getting daylight bulbs. They are regular light bulbs but instead of “soft light” they are “day light” they mimic the suns tones. So they don’t give off a yellow cast and are much brighter.

I’ve been using them for about 3 years now and will never go back. I even got the ones that last for like 9 years and so far they are still holding up.

Day Light Bulbs

Bendable tripod and shutter remote

This is literally my favorite combo for getting in the frame. I can bend the legs to wrap around anything I need to to capture family photos it ones with me in them. And it fits in my diaper bag or purse.

Bendable tripod + remote

Extendable tripod and shutter remote

This is my 2nd go to. But for at home. The legs extend so I can do mini photoshoot of my kids and not have to stack things up to prop it. Works wonders too for getting in the frame.

Extendable tripod + remote

Hang up your favorites

My favorite thing about documenting our days with pictures is that they seriously make the best photos to display. Natural vibes of your real life. I’ve been loving the simple magnetic wood strips for photos and plan to order some 8×10 frames instead of the regular old glass and wood ones.

Magnetic wood strip frame

External hard drive

The more you document your days the sooner you will realize that your going to need somewhere to keep all those digital files. Somewhere safe and compact. So I always recommend a portable external hard drive.

They are literally a life saver to your phones memory and keeping those precious images safe for years.

Portable external hard drive

Thank you for taking the time to stop and check out my tips and tricks to document your days. I hope I helped you find the tools necessary to start documenting today.

And don’t expect to capture them all in a beautiful image right away. Practice makes perfect and before you know it you will be a story telling guru for your family’s everyday life.

Until next time,

Xo Jessica!

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