Photographing Kids Using Natural Light

Photographing kids is child’s play when you know how to do it right.

Photographing kids is always going to be a challenge, and you might find yourself asking how do you keep kids focused while you photograph? What are the best locations to photograph children? How do you make a shoot work when you only have a small space? The list goes on…

In this photography class, Karl Taylor answers all of these questions as he shares some top tips for photographing kids. He also shows you how to work in a variety of locations, both indoor and outdoor.

In each shoot he uses nothing more than natural light. That, coupled with a few simple accessories, attention to detail and patience, results in some great images that any parent would be pleased with.

In this class:

  • Portrait photography: How to photograph children using natural light
  • Tips for photographing children
  • Interesting locations for photographing children
  • Useful equipment for natural light photography
  • How to incorporate movement into kids portraits
  • Controlling shutter speed for creative portraits


  1. Hello Karl,

    With the slide photos did you have 3.5 aperture to ensure the whole of the slide was in focus, or did you use some sort of face tracking so that the point of focus changed? What did you focus on?
    Great, informative video, thank you.

    1. Hi Stephen, on my Canon there was a predictive focus tracking for objects moving towards you. On the latest Sony and Canon’s this sort of face tracking has improved dramatically. If it doesn’t work then I try manual focusing or I preset a focus point manually where I know where the subject will arrive at and anticipate the shutter press for that point. All the best Karl.

  2. Hi!
    which white balance did you used at the room of the kids?
    and can you tell me which shutter speed do you recommend to use in a studio with kids and family?
    Best regards,

    1. Hi Mor, these were shot with daylight so the white balance would be set at daylight (5600 Kelvin). Your question regarding the shutter speed in a studio indicates to me that you do not fully understand the concept of studio lighting and how it works in relation to shutter speeds and exposure of the studio lighting with the aperture or by simply controlling the studio lighting. It may be that you are referring to continuous studio lighting but this would be unusual for studio photography of families and kids. Please ensure that you fully understand apertures and shutter speeds by watching our Essentials section Introduction classes. If you are familiar with Shutter Speeds, Apertures and exposure then please watch the first 5 chapters in this section –

  3. Hi Karl,
    thank you for the great videos – I have two questions:

    1) Metering – on all your natural portraiture videos do you use matrix /evaluative metering and you underexpose a bit or do you use spot metering? Normally , if I shoot backlit image I would spot metering on the face to get the correct exposure on my subject . What do you use ?
    2) in the children videos which filter do you use to slow down the shutter speed ?
    thank you
    Luciana Rizzi

    1. Hi Lucian.
      1. I don’t use any metering system, (I think it’s set in the default one) I usually just put in the aperture I want to use, guess the shutter speed and then take a test and look at the result and histogram and adjust further from there. See our new Intro Course.
      2. That would have been either a 0.9 ND filter or a Polarizer.

    1. Hi Chris, on this type of indoor shoot with strong backlighting the reflector would still work, in fact I don’t think it was sunny when we did these. If it was very dark and overcast you’d have to work a bit harder but all the light would still be coming from behind them so there would still be something to reflect relative to the overall scene.

    1. Hi Mario, no particular reason, for the kid in with the lego I just wanted to get the lego in the foreground and as he was on his own it made a better composition. For the girl on the roundabout I went landscape to accommodate her arms waving around.

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