simple tips for photographing children with Kaylan Buteyn


photo4I’d like to introduce another gifted sponsor, Kaylan Buteyn, an artist, and the former writer and photographer behind  the The Emerald Homestead and Kaylan Buteyn Photography. Today, she’s sharing a few tips for photographing children with us. Welcome, Kaylan, and thank you so much for sharing!


Hello friends and readers of Cloistered Away! I’m so excited to share a post on some simple photography tips with you–specifically tips focused around photographing your kids! I’m a photographer for a living but when it comes to photographing my family, I realize it’s not the easiest task. In this day and age when everyone has nice cameras and phones to capture their family, it can be easy to snap away mindlessly…taking photographs of everything! While this isn’t necessarily bad, I think the main thing I need to focus on at times is stepping back or removing myself from the situation (even if it’s mentally), and truly contemplating what I want to capture, why that specific moment is special to me, and how to frame the shot well.

Here’s three simple tips I try to use when photographing our family: 

1. Capture the entire story
Portraits of our kids are the basic thing most of us take, right? Their cute faces are what we want to capture. But I think photographs are so powerful for the story they tell, and sometimes it takes a different kind of shot to do that. When I’m loving a moment, or truly want to capture something, sometimes the best way to do that is widen my range of photos I’d normally take. While on a pizza picnic at the creek, why not get a wider landscape shot to include the scenery? And make sure you capture interesting behaviors, not only the ‘picture perfect’ moments. I love thinking of photographs as part of a collection, rather than trying to fit every detail you love about the memory into one great shot.
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2. Don’t be afraid to photograph the every day
Your house isn’t perfect? Mine never is. Your kid has a scrape on his nose? Happens to everyone. Your toddler crying and not willing to get in your photo? It’s ok. Really. I think there’s something powerful in capturing moments that aren’t the spectacular, typically photographed ones. Maybe your child does, but my kid certainly doesn’t smile all the time. But his sweet toddler crying face and crocodile tears with his marker mouth? Gosh, that image tugs at my heart and I want to remember it. On our day at the zoo, my son was really skeptical of those monkeys. I’m so glad I caught that look. Don’t be afraid to step in and photograph the real, the raw, the every day. They might be images you truly look back on and enjoy- giving you a well rounded look at your past.

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3. Include yourself!
I never used to be really passionate about taking photos of myself with my kid. Let’s be honest, most of us have some kind of reactionary cringe when we think about photos of ourselves, right? Or is it just me? Either way, I know that the photos I treasure most from my childhood are the ones that include my parents. My Dad and I snuggled up in our favorite recliner while we both read the paper? Yeah, that one. Or my Mom with her awesome 80’s hairstyle holding me tight? I love that one too. So even though it’s a chore and I don’t love photos of myself. You’d better believe I’m going to get in some for my kids sake. I even decided to use the 52 project for just that cause this year.



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  1. definitely referencing this post when we grow our family and have little ones to capture!:) Thanks for sharing!!!

  2. This is a wonderful post. I’m just starting to really get into photography and now that I have a fancy DSLR I need to take in as many tips for taking photos of kids as I can! Thanks!

  3. Pingback: guest post: photographing your children »

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