Tips for Taking Amazing Fall Pictures of Your Kids

      4 Tips for Taking Amazing Fall Pictures of Your Kids

      If you are like most families, fall is a favorite time to capture beautiful pictures of your family. And if you are like most moms, the idea we have in our head and the reality of what we capture don’t always match. As a mom of a one year old and a three year old, and a professional portrait photographer, I get it. So if you are hoping to snap a few pictures of your kids this fall, I have 4 tips to make sure the pictures you take turn out amazing.

      1.Golden Hour Lighting

      You will hear family photographers talk about the golden hour all the time. You may even catch them getting starry eyed as they do. That’s because the lighting at that time is soft, golden and helps create amazing photographs. The golden hour is about one hour before sunset. At that time, the sun is low is the sky. The lighting is soft. And it doesn’t create harsh shadows. This is especially important when photographing young children. When the sun is higher and harsher, you can always ask adults to position themselves so the sun is just slightly behind them. This minimizes the shadows on their face. But with children, they don’t stay still for long. And the pictures with the most genuine smiles and expressions happen when you capture them playing and just being themselves. During the golden hour, you don’t have to worry about which direction you little one is facing. The lighting is perfect from all directions. And the best part about taking your kids pictures in the fall is that the golden hour happens at a much more child friendly time! No more waiting until 8:30 at night and having over tired cranky kids as you wait for the sun to get low.

      baby girl watching fall leaves fall to the ground

      2.Let Them Play and Explore

      You may have seen some of my other posts talking about how to get kids to smile naturally for pictures. Or how to prepare them for a photo session or get them to cooperate. I know from experience that little ones love to give forced cheese smiles or stare expressionlessly at the camera. My youngest practically cleared out the beach with her high pitched screams when it was time for our photo session this summer! Talk about a photographer mom’s worst nightmare. Thankfully our photographer was amazing and patient and somehow managed to capture extraordinary images despite her tantrums. So my tip for keeping kids engaged and capturing their true personality while you take pictures is to let them do something fun. And most kids love to play outside. Especially when there are fall leaves to play in. So if you want to take amazing fall photos of your kids, get them dressed up. Grab your camera. Head outside where you know there are lots of fall leaves and gorgeous fall colors. And them let them play! You will be amazed at how many amazing smiles and expressions you will capture!

      baby girl blowing bubbles outside in the fall leaves

      toddler girl throwing fall leaves into the air

      3.Get Low

      It sounds simple enough. And it is! But if you think about it, most adults stand upright and take pictures. But our little ones are just that. Little. So I find most adults photograph down at their kids. But when you get low (or lay belly down in the grass like I did for the portrait below) you will find this change of perspective to be refreshing. Give it a try! It is one of the simplest tips to try and one that is a game changer.

      toddler girl watching fall leaves fall from overhead

      4.Don’t Forget Your Background

      This one takes a little practice. Our attention is usually on our children. So it is easy not to notice distracting elements in the background until later when looking through the pictures. I’m sure you’ve had it happen. You captured an image you love, but the trash can or stop sign in the background takes some of the attention away from your child’s sweet smile? Sometimes there is nothing you can do about the background. But other times it is as simple as taking a few steps to the left or right before snapping the picture. When planning to take my children’s pictures, I like to first consider the location we are going to. I try to pick a park or field that give me lots of options with minimal distractions so I don’t have to worry as much. Then I try to remind my self to look at the whole picture, not just my darling daughters before I click the shutter. The image below is a perfect example. The creamy jewel toned background of leaves is soft and allows all the focus to be on this pigtailed darling and her classic ‘teenager’ expressions.

      Tips for Taking Amazing Fall Pictures of Your Kids

      sisters looking at fall leaves outside

      Toddler girl playing in fall leaves

      Dressed by Persnickety Clothing

      If you are interesting in planning a family portrait session, we’d love to chat! Just click here and we will be in touch!



      I just wanted to say that your work is beautiful. Do you use overlays for the lighting? As for the leaves in your fall edits, are those real or fake? I am interested in improving my photography skills.

      Thanks so much in advance!

      Hi Caroline, thank you for the kind words. The images in this particular post are hand edits with a few extra leafs added through overlays (when we threw the leaves, the scatter ended up lopsided and needed evened out), but no overlays were used for the lighting. The images were shot close to golden hour and are back lit. They were shot with my 70-200 2.8 closer to the 200 end which helps give the lighting that creamy glow. Hope that helps!