Prev Next
Take Pictures that Really Capture Your Kids

Take Pictures that Really Capture Your Kids

By Rachel Meeks

Do you remember having your photo taken for school picture day? It was always a big deal at my school. We would stand in a line to wait our turn, and we were each given a blue plastic comb to smooth our hair.

Perching us up on the stool, the photographer would call out, “You look like Miss America!” to get some of us to crack a smile. Flash! Click.

I never liked my school pictures when we received that large white folder, but what else could I do? That was the photo that would be framed and hung on the walls at my parents’ and grandparents’ house until next year.

When my child had her first school picture day, I knew I wasn’t really interested in the photos. Her life is well documented already from all the photos I take. I bought the smallest package of prints anyway for tradition’s sake. I don’t know why, I guess it seemed like I was supposed to, and you only get one first school picture day.

The school photos my child brought home a few weeks later were not nearly as good as the ones I take at home. Not because I’m a good photographer, but because the posed school photo did not look like her at all. Her wild-and-free hair was smoothed down with a blue plastic comb, and her face was looking at the camera with a half smile, not the big joyous grin that bursts out with a fit of giggles.

I decided I probably won’t buy the school photos anymore. Thank goodness digital photography has come such a long way that I don’t have to subject my child to the posed school photos with a nature-print background!

I would much rather have candid shots that capture my children’s personalities, antics, and memories. Those are much more real.

You can do a better job of capturing your child in a photo than the school photographer, I promise, even if you don’t have training or a fancy camera.

Need some help? Try these helpful posts for photographing children. (Be sure to print some of your photos to hang on your wall, and make sure you’re in some of the photos too!)

About the Author

Rachel Meeks

Rachel Meeks is the voice behind the popular blog Small Notebook, a resource for simplifying and organizing your home. (Because it’s so much easier to b...

Rachel Meeks is the voice behind the popular blog Small Notebook, a resource for simplifying and organizing your home. (Because it’s so much easier to be a parent when you’re not surrounded by a ton of stuff.)

icon icon
chat bubble icon


  • Rebekah

    April 17, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Ever since having my baby I have become even more inspired to learn as much as I can about photography and what makes a great picture. (Sitting on the couch with a sleeping baby on top of me gave me lots of time to read some photography books and really play around with my camera.) One of the books I really like is Your Baby in Pictures.

    As a side note, I hadn’t thought about the school photos yet, but I’m not sure if I could totally skip them. They seem like such a tradition – like what you are supposed to do. 🙂

  • Jamie

    April 17, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    I agree, Rebekah. I have a ton of photos that I take that better capture the true personalities of my kids, but there’s a story that is told by the traditional school photo that isn’t told in the photos I take. (The first few school photos in elementary school, they look so timid and shy, and then they start to look more confident as they grow up.) I guess I love all photos of my kids, and it’s sometimes interesting to see them through another person’s lens. That point aside, these articles here provide great tips for capturing a child’s spirit, so thank you!

  • SarahA

    April 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    I always buy pictures from school but only because it includes a class picture but it’s true. My daughter (almost 2) looked nervous with a fake smile in her pictures this time. I might skip it next time and ask the teachers to take a group shot for me.

  • […] Take Pictures That Really Capture Your Kids – A great reminder of why we should take pictures in the first place (to capture them for who they are). […]

  • […] it’s time to clean your child may start to “um” and “aww,” so have your child take a few photos of all the mess before you start, then both of you clean up and then ask them to snap the area […]