Kids are naturals at being imaginative and interesting, so we should naturally be looking to our kids for creative photo shoot ideas! Of course, we can continue taking the yearly posed close-up headshots and family photos, but be sure to get some creative photos, as well, as these are the kind of photos that you and your kiddos will likely cherish most! Below, we’ve listed some innovative photo shoot ideas for your kids that let their own personalities and creativity shine through.
Let them use props of their choice.
Props always have a way of adding a little something extra interesting to any photograph, and props are especially on the mind when it comes to newborn photography and children's photography. But sometimes, what we, as adults, come up with for props (whether you’re reading this from a photographer or a parent's perspective) may not be nearly as interesting or meaningful as what the child being photographed can come up with themselves. If you’re going for a professional family photo session and you want to be as authentic as possible with the kids’ portraits, ask them to bring something that they want to use in their photos. Whether that be one of their favorite toys or books, a special knickknack that holds deep meaning to them, or some crazy combination of items that lets their personality shine! You can still get those classic headshots taken, but your whole family will be able to appreciate those extra special photos that years from now, your child will be able to look back and reminisce on that special toy or whacky combination of things even after those items have moved on to a new home.
Include the family’s best friend.
If your goal is to capture a photo of your child in the middle of a genuine moment, look no further than to the help of the family’s best friend: the family pet! When a child gets to spend time with their cherished animal friend, that pet tends to make them feel at ease. And when your child is at ease, you will get to see some of the most heart-warming and fun moments! Whether your child and pet are adorably taking a nap together, just hangin’ out, or both on high energy together, it’s a perfect opportunity to snap a cute photo of the two of them. Not only will you get to capture some adorable candid moments of your child, but you’ll also get to capture some of the best photos of your pet... And we all know that we can never have too many pet pics!
Use the elements of the season.
Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter each have their own elements that make them stand out from the others. Though Fall leaves are probably the most used element of any season for photography, kids have a way of finding fun in every season! In the Spring, they might love helping you plant new flowers, stopping to smell the roses, or splashing through the puddles that April’s showers bring. Summer months might be filled with swimming, walking through their grandparent’s garden, or eating some of summer’s best foods like watermelon or corn on the cob. Fall, as we mentioned, can be full of fun playing in colorful leaves and visiting local farms. And winter (though maybe the least ideal to be outside) still provides fun for kids, like building forts in the snow, searching for pinecones, or drinking some hot chocolate by a campfire... Wherever their creative minds take them. Let them interact naturally with the current season, and when the time seems right, snap a few shots!
Bring on the mess!
Look, we’re not saying that you have to use this option for creative photos of your kiddos, but if you’re feeling daring... Let there be a mess! (Yep, we said it.) A mess, as you know, can mean many, many things, and kids tend to be naturals at creating them! And most importantly, this type of photo shoot is probably going to bring them the most joy and eagerness to participate in. Below, we’ve got a few messy photography prompts that can make for some creative shots.
Messy Photography Ideas:
- Let them play in the mud.
- Give them colorful paints, a plain t-shirt, and a plain backdrop (i.e. plain sheet or large poster), and let them have at it!
- Give them the ingredients for a sundae (ice cream, chocolate syrup, sprinkles, marshmallows, cherries, a waffle cone bowl, etc.) and let them make their own sundae.
- Have them throw confetti, popcorn, or anything similar in the air.
- Put a giant bowl of spaghetti or any other messy food in front of them (this one is best for babies and toddlers).
- Photograph them at peak playtime (when toys are all over and a trail of crackers is following closely behind them).
- Staged messy kitchen: Tip over a bag of flour, sprinkle some chocolate chips across the floor, spill some milk, and drop an egg on the counter. Then give your kids some cooking utensils like a chef’s hat and a wooden spoon and place them in the middle of the mess.
- For the kids who like fashion and makeup, give them some distinct makeup essentials like lipstick, blush, and eye shadow, and let them apply their own makeup and play dress up.
For messes that will result in thorough vacuuming, scrubbing, and/or clothes cleaning especially, we recommend making sure the photos are high-quality (so that you at least get some exceptional photos while you’re still finding remnants from the mess a few weeks later). Use good lighting: soft, natural lighting is usually the most ideal. And use a camera that allows you to use a fast shutter speed. A fast shutter speed setting will allow you to freeze the action so that everyone is clear and in focus (no motion blur). We all know that if we’re initiating a mess just for the sake of making a mess for some fun pics, there will definitely be a lot of motion! If you’re not sure that you have the proper equipment to take some high-quality shots, reach out to a child photographer or a family photographer near you and discuss this idea with them. You won’t be disappointed!
Allow them to pick their own outfit.
Kids are full of creativity, imagination, and personality. So giving them the opportunity to pick their own outfit to wear for a photo shoot will let all three of these things shine through in their photos. Your child might be obsessed with the color pink, and if you let them pick out their own outfit, they might choose multiple different shades of pink to wear from their head to their toes that don’t quite go together. Or they might gravitate toward an elegant princess dress or an outfit made of multiple different Halloween costumes. Whatever the outfit may be, it’s likely going to make for a creative and fun photo that represents them well! (And you probably wouldn’t have been able to come up with such a stunning ensemble without their help!)
Show the love.
If you see a natural moment of bonding with Mom or Dad, Brother, Sister, or anyone else near and dear to your child’s heart, take the opportunity to document it with a photo. When your child grows older, she’ll not only know how much love there was (and is) between her and that special person or persons in the photo, but she’ll also be able to have that photo as a keepsake, forever representing just how special that relationship is. Heart-warming photos like these are typically some of the most treasured out of all other types of pictures. And we recommend getting the most special photos printed to display in your home for years to come. If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of displaying family pictures, read all about them in our article here.