Best tips on how to take photos of moving kids

March 25, 2015

how to take photos of moving kids

It’s Wednesday and that means it’s time for another photography tips post.  Last Wednesday I shared the best photo filter apps and before that it was tips on taking better iphone photos of your kids.  This week it’s about taking photo’s of your kids who cannot sit still!  I know from my own experience that Anya is constantly moving and the more I ask her to stay still, the more she jumps around while I’m trying to snap pictures.  I also know I’m not alone because since starting my photography series, many of you have said the same and quite a few have asked for tips on how to take photos of moving kids.  So today I share top 10 tips on photographing those fidgety kids by super talented photographer and mum of four – Abigail Fahey.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Abigail for a while – both on and offline.  I was first drawn to her through her absolutely amazing family photography.  Abigail’s style is distinctive and beautiful.  All her pictures tell a story and really draw you in.  I know my words are not doing justice to her photography but from the pictures below you’ll see exactly what I mean.  I am so excited to have her here today sharing her photography secrets and handy tips to capture those kids that never sit still!  Abigail’s tips are geared towards DSLR users however there are lots of tips in here which can be applied to any kind of camera you use including phone cameras.  Now over to Abigail!

It wasn’t until my babies became toddlers that I truly realised how much ground they covered each day.  My two sons in particular rarely sit still and are generally on the go from morning until night and sometimes even throughout the night!  I tried hard at first to get them to pose and found it so frustrating when they would not sit still whilst I tried in vain to recreate some gorgeous shots I had seen online. I quickly realised that posing and fidgety children are not a happy match, so I decided that if I was to get any decent shots of my children I needed to embrace the action and just learn how to photograph them on the move.  So here are my 10 tips for photographing fast moving children!

tips for photographing moving children

1.  Don’t be a poser.
Kids don’t always cooperate so it’s best not to try too hard.  Instead go for natural shots of them moving or interacting.  If you want them to slow down, a great way of doing this is to give them an activity that focuses their attention in one place.  Something like a board game, a toy, sitting them on a swing or simply asking them to find worms outside will do the trick.

how to photograph children outdoors

2.  Lets go outside.
The best way to maximise the amount of available light is to shoot outdoors.  More light means faster shutter speed which means less blur.

how to photgraph moving toddlers3.  Change your camera mode.
If you shoot in Auto then turn your settings to Sports mode and your camera will automatically increase it’s shutter speed in anticipation of an action shot.  If you shoot in Semi Auto then turn the dial to Tv (shutter priority mode also marked as S on some cameras) and set your shutter speed at 1/500 or above.  You may need to compensate by raising your ISO to get the correct exposure.

best tips for photographing moving children4.  Be ready.
Keep your finger on the button and if possible use a continuous shooting mode.  If you want an action shot then short bursts of the shutter will increase the chances of getting the shot you are after.

10 best tips for photographing children5.  Anticipate the moment.
Look at the scene before you and get yourself into a position where you can concentrate on getting one good shot rather than chasing children around taking hundreds of pot luck ones.

easy tips for photographing children6.  Steady yourself.
Use a wall or something to lean on to steady your hands whilst holding your camera.  The more you can reduce camera shake, the less blur you will create.

best tips on how to photograph children

7.  Talk to the hand!
Not all photographs have to show a childs face. Often I will take shots of busy little hands or quick little feet. Or even photos showing the back of the child.  These can be equally cute and take the pressure off having to get a shot with the right facial expression.

how to photograph moving child

8.  Use a zoom.
This will allow you to sit further away and take shots without interrupting their games or encroaching on their space.  Children will quickly get fed up of a constant camera in their face and will start to react.  If you can sit quietly some distance away and snap without them being too aware, you will achieve far more natural results.

best tips to photograph moving kids9.  Get creative.
Don’t panic if you get some blur.  Occasionally blur in the photos emphasises the movement and makes for a more interesting shot.  If you get some unwanted blur turn your photos to black and white; it’s amazing how much better they look.

10.  Don’t miss out.
Remember to put the camera down occasionally and get involved.  So often I have waited for the perfect shot only to miss the moment.  Pick your time to take a worthwhile shot.  For e.g. when you go to sports day as great as it is taking shots of your children running, the best ones are of their faces when they have completed their race and are full of pride.  And better yet you were there cheering them on from the sidelines not squinting through the viewfinder.

Thank you Abigail for these great tips on how to take photos of moving kids. I look forward to experimenting with these tips and hopefully capturing some great motion shots.  I especially found the tips of using a zoom and turning blurry photos to black and white very useful.  Abigail has recently started photography workshops in Surrey for beginners, bloggers and intermediate photographers so if you’re interested in learning more check them out at A Happy Capture.

And don’t forget to check out my previous posts in this photography series.  There’s a load of practical and useful information in them – how to photograph your kids using an iphone and the best photo filter apps out there.

*I’ve linked up to Honest Mum’s brilliant blog posts.

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  • Charlotte

    I’m loving this series. I struggle with action shots of the children and it sounds as though it’s because I try and get them to pose rather than letting them be natural. Some great tips, especially no. 1. I can’t wait to try them out!

    • ebabee likes

      Hi Charlotte – I was exactly the same. Always getting my daughter to pose and it always ended with her hating being photographed and me never getting the shots I wanted! But now we know what to do 🙂

  • HonestMum

    Love this series, amazing tips and photos, action shots with kids can be tough, I usually stand by the camera for eyeline but P is shooting! x

    • ebabee likes

      Thank you! I am really enjoying doing it and learning along the way. You already have an amazing pro photographer in your home so you have a ready made teacher – lucky you 🙂

  • Katie / Pouting In Heels

    Bookmarked! Absolutely love this post. Thank you so much for sharing these excellent tips. With a two year old daughter who never keeps still, I think they will be invaluable! 😉 Off to check out the rest of this series immediately xxx

    • ebabee likes

      So glad you found it useful – I did too! Yours is two, mine is six and I still have the same problem! xx

  • ebabee likes:A mini photo book and a giveaway

    […] of my photography series.  Over the last three weeks I’ve shared some useful and actionable tips on photographing kids as well as some of the best photo filter apps to help turn those ordinary photos in to something […]

  • Amy

    Wonderful tips! My kiddos are fast moving tiger cubs that I can hardly catch. I hope to increase my chances with your techniques! Thanks for sharing them!

    • ebabee likes

      Hi Amy – yes, so true! Mine doesn’t sit still for a second either! I too will be trying these tips by Abigail. Glad you found them useful.

  • Luisa @ Looking for mama me

    I’ll have to try some of those tips! My bub is so hard to photograph as she moves constantly!

    • ebabee likes

      Then these tips should definitely help! Mine is the same – cannot stay still for a second 🙂

  • Mummy Fever

    I so needed this posts – I currently have great pics of three of my children but none of my toddler as they are all a flash ! #brilliantblogposts

    • ebabee likes

      Ha, ha – it is so hard to get kids to be still! Mine is as fidgety as they come! Hopefully these tips will help.

  • Cheryl | TimeToCraft

    Really good tips. I’ll have to try some. Especially changing to black and white. As the daughter of a photographer, I can confirm that being posed and being told to “look like you’re enjoying yourself”, is the worse way to get a child’s photo! We still tease my father on that one. #BrilliantBlogs

    • ebabee likes

      Ha, ha! I’ve been there and done it and have now seen how completely wrong that was! The black and white tip was also one of the best for me and I’m already using it.

  • Beth

    Thanks for sharing, they are great tips.
    I love every single photo you have shared in this post.

    • ebabee likes

      Pleasure. The photographer who shared these tips and her photos – Abigail Fahey – she is incredibly talented and has such a fantastic eye. Glad you found the tips useful.

  • Mummy Tries

    Brilliant series hon, really easy to follow advice. Even a complete photography novice like me should be able to put some of it to good use 🙂 #brilliantblogposts

    • ebabee likes

      Thank you lovely. I tried to keep the tips as simple and do-able as possible so I’m glad you felt that they are.

  • Ashley Beolens

    Great set of tips, capturing kids on the move makes for some great photos, the essence of kids is so often in their activities.

    • ebabee likes

      thank you! And so true about kids and their activities – it is when they are engaged in something that you get the best pics.

  • Caroline (Becoming a SAHM)

    Great tips, kids certainly don’t stop moving very often so best to capture them on the go than trying to get them standing still! Xx #brilliantblogposts

    • ebabee likes

      Thank you! I have struggled so much to capture my daughter. I always say I prefer food photography because the food stays where you tell it to!! 🙂

  • Wander Mum

    Amazing – am off to pin this now. Great, simple tips to improve pics of those wriggley children! Brill series, will have to read the rest now #brilliantblogposts

    • ebabee likes

      Thank you – so glad you found it useful. Mine doesn’t stop moving either so I have been putting these tips in to practice too.

  • Mummy Bisson

    Firstly, your photos are beautiful. My 3 year old has suddenly decided she no longer wants to look in to the camera, so these are great tips! Thank you for such a great post! #BrilliantBlogPosts

    • ebabee likes

      Thank you! They aren’t my photos – wish they were. These photo’s are by a super talented photographer called Abigail Fahey who shared these tips. But they are fab tips and I hope they work out for you.

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