5 GIFs that Show Why Taking Pictures of Your Kids is So Hard - Family Lifestyle Photography Waterloo

Why is it so difficult to reliably capture great pictures of your kids? Do you have a phone or camera card full of motion blur, almost-caught-the-moment, and eyes-closed silly faces? Ever tried to take your Christmas card picture, a birthday picture, a first or last day of school picture, or just capture that sweet face you love so much, only to put down your camera in frustration? You will relate to these 5 GIFs! Read all the way to the end for a couple of tips that will help, and an easy way to get more tips too!

Why Is Taking Great Pictures of My Own Kids So Difficult?

1. They “ham it up” for the camera

Nothing like a little bit of ham and cheese...hamming it up while saying “cheese,” that is! Do your kids have a really unnatural “smile” they only pull out for photos? You’re not alone! Most kids have a “cheese face” and despite any coaching you might offer, it’s just like that episode of “Friends” where Chandler can’t smile for their engagement photo.


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2. They see your camera as an intrusion, and stop what they’re doing

You know the feeling, your kids are settled in, doing something adorable, you sneak out your camera, and bam! The adorable moment is over, replaced by a whole bunch of ridiculous faces and silly actions. They notice you taking pictures, and they respond by replacing the moment you wanted to capture with one you really didn’t mean to create. It might still be fun, but you're disappointed to have missed the moment you wanted to catch. Shoutout to Adele for singing "Let me photograph you in this light..." and for pulling funny faces, both talents to show off!

3. You feel pressure to get “perfect” shots

Have you ever seen a photo and desperately wanted to recreate it? Maybe it was one you saw on Pinterest, or one that a friend posted from their photo session. Once that’s in your head, it’s tough to get it out! And often, the more determined you are to make it happen, the more frustrated you (and your kids) feel in the process. But Liz Lemon is the only person who's down for some mandatory fun. Your kids just won't be into it if they're feeling pressure from you.

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4. You're both more comfortable and less patient with each other than with strangers

You know how well your kids behave for teachers, coaches, and other authority figures. You know how they respond when someone they hardly know asks for their cooperation. Why don’t they behave the same way for you? The answer is both a blessing and a curse: they’re so comfortable with you they can relax and let down their guard. They’re at their silliest and their most relaxed at the same time. Unless they're Andy Dwyer, who is silly and relaxed 24/7.

5. You feel a pressure that they don't feel

Often, parents are coming at photo-taking from a very different point of view than kids. You’re looking to make a picture you can display, share online, give to family, look back on later and remember. They’re totally immersed in what they’re doing right now, with limited thought to the future and likely no concern for preserving this moment. You're so aware of how fast the time is going, but to them it feels like this moment will go on forever. And like Phoebe, they don't mind letting you know they're not into capturing the moment for posterity.

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So, what can you do about it? How can you overcome these obstacles and take great pictures of your kids? Here are 2 great ideas to start:


1. Get your camera out more often

If your kids see your camera out all the time, they'll get used to it quickly. You might get one or two "cheese" moments, but the more commonplace it is for you to take pictures of them, the more they'll just ignore it.

2. Relax and take the pressure off

If you have your camera out more often, it can take the pressure off to capture the perfect moment, because there are just so many more opportunities. But no matter what, try not to put pressure on yourself or your kids to pose perfectly and recreate exactly what's in your mind. It's great to do creative photo projects, where you start out with a clear vision. But it's also great to capture real life, whatever that looks like on a particular day for your family. You might come away with a great shot you never expected to capture!


Want 10 great tips for taking better pictures of your kids? I've got those too!

And the best part is, you can put them into action right away! These tips will upgrade the quality of the pictures you're taking of your kids whether you're using a "fancy" DSLR, a point-and-shoot, or even your phone camera! 

Each of the 10 tips is practical, easy to understand, and something you can try out right away, without any special equipment. And if you have any questions, I'm right here to help!

Drop your email here and I'll send you my 10 tips right away! You can stay signed up to my email list and receive a biweekly email with more tips, ideas, printables, special offers, and more. I promise not to spam you, share your email with anyone, or send too many emails, and you can unsubscribe anytime.

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Erin Watt