Motherhood

9 Times to Take Photos of Your Children

9 Photos to Take of Your Children

Cup of Jo has been running for 13 years (!) so we’ve decided that every week, we’ll be highlighting one of the most popular posts from the past. Here’s one of our favorites, originally published on April 4, 2016, since photography feels like a fun thing to do inside these days…

Art director and Define Magazine founder Amanda Jane Jones really captures the essence of childhood — the lazy days, the favorite toys, the feet sticking out of the bath. Here, she gives us a reminder of nine moments to pull out your phone’s camera…

In the Tub
Taking pictures in the bath is an easy way to see them grow. It’s basically the same photo every time you take it, so you can see how much they’ve changed.

9 Photos to Take of Your Children

While They Are Sleeping
Kids are cuddliest first thing in the morning, so we keep our camera by the bed in the event something super cute happens.

9 Photos to Take of Your Children

Against a Wall
This makes me sound weird but I keep an eye out for cool walls. If I find a good one, I’ll put a pin in the map. We also live next to an old college campus with ivy-covered buildings. I look out for super overgrown walls so all you see are leaves.

amandajanejones

With Mom
Growing up, my mom would always say, “You’ll never remember me at any of these events or trips because I’m always taking the pictures.” My husband, Cree, and I talked about it before we even had children. It’s very important to me that I’m in photos with my kids.

9 Photos to Take of Your Children

Shoes
It’s an easy photo to take by yourself. They’re spontaneous and so cute.

toss

In the Air
Dad’s definitely the thrower and picker-upper and wrestler of the family. I love capturing that.

9 Photos to Take of Your Children

Favorite Toys
Jane is still obsessed with that bear above. She sleeps with him every night. It’s nice to capture these moments in time before they move on to other things.

9 Photos to Take of Your Children

Profiles
Generally, taking a photo in profile is a happy accident, but sometimes if Jane has a cute bun, I’ll tell her to look at something, or have Daddy stand in the corner, then snap a pic.

9 Photos to Take of Your Children

From Behind
Sometimes it’s fun to capture them mid-action. The other day I found Jane leaning over Miles with her pretend camera going, “SOOOO CUUUUUUTTTEE.” Then she turned the camera to “show” me the photo. Ha!

Thanks so much, Amanda!

P.S. 8 Instagram accounts we love, and 8 ways to take cool photos of kids (including how to make them smile).

  1. jsma1 says...

    My instagram is mostly my kids sleeping! I loooooove it.

  2. Jj says...

    I think an effortlessly looking uncluttered house is one of ‘secrets’ for these great photos. There isnt a shampoo bottle or towel in sight for the bath pictures! While I like these, I think it sets a hope pressure to have perfect Pinterest photos. Just want to remind everyone to embrace the mess and capture real memories (with messy homes and electronic toys and all!)

    • Marion says...

      Couldn’t agree more!!

  3. Ashley says...

    I love taking pics of my daughter with our dog, whom we had for years before having a baby. It’s fun to see how their relationship has changed over time, and it’s a good measure for how much she has grown (and how much our dog has grayed over the years). She won’t remember much of our pup when she gets older, but she’ll have the pictures of her first friendship.

  4. jenna says...

    Does she have a recommendation for a beginner camera?

    • diana k. says...

      Literally anything! I’m an amateur photographer and cycle through a nicer Canon DSLR, an ANCIENT point and shoot, and a 35mm Nikon. iPhone cameras these days shoot incredible quality and shouldn’t be discounted either. Start with whatever you have. The most important thing for taking better photos is taking lots of them. The practice “trains” your eye. Search for some Youtube tutorials for taking better pictures of your kids. Experiment. I love photos of kids eating or mid-yell.

    • Joanne says...

      I’m not sure how “beginner” it is, but I bought a used Fujifilm X-T1 (a mirrorless digital camera) off of eBay for $350 and have been thrilled with it. (The lenses are expensive, though, and I mostly use a 35mm f/2 lens that was about $400.) I know that Fujifilm and other brands tend to have plenty of cameras in their lineup that are great and more into-level than the XT1, but I bought it as a beginner and learned via a few youtube videos. I wanted the opportunity for professional-style photos rather than just buying something for a beginner and wanting to upgrade a few months later. I think buying a used camera but a new lens is a good starting place, but I’m definitely an amateur. Hopefully someone more experienced (and/or Amanda) can recommend cameras, too. Good luck!

  5. Midge says...

    Some of my favorite photos now are The ones I took of the piles of stuff they threw on the floor after school back in elementary school. The teeny shoes! The sparkly backpack! The gigantic art project! It completely evokes what life was like back then.

    • Amy says...

      I saw a similar comment a while back on COJ, and I have started doing this. A pile of clothes in the bathroom, shoes by the back door, stuffed animals tucked in…. one day I’m sure I will miss cleaning it up.

  6. Dee says...

    How lovely. I read this the first time around (and enjoyed) but now I have two little folks and it’s a different thing…

  7. Yes to all of these! I was just looking over old photos this weekend (read:feeling overly emotional!) and it’s amazing how the staged “look at me and smile” photos are never the ones that make me as happy as all the other – profile.busy, etc photos do…which is handy bc having 5 kids under 10 means it’s impossible to get them all still/looking at me at the same time anyway :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      five kids under 10!! that’s amazing!

  8. Chelsea says...

    Great ideas! Does anyone have any recommendations for a camera? I’m a bit of a photography noob but have been thinking about investing in a good but simple camera. Any recs would be amazing!

  9. Deb says...

    So so lovely :-)

  10. Helen says...

    I’d love a post about taking pictures of teenagers. My 13 year olds are getting harder and harder to snap good pictures.

    • Holly says...

      This is a great idea! I’m at the little kid stage of parenting, but I can totally see how, despite the fact that they are documenting their own lives on camera, getting those moments that a mom wants might be so much harder. And those moments must feel equally precious as they near the stage where they go out on their own. Would love to see this Jo & Co!

  11. A says...

    I love these! I have pulled out my big camera to document our quarantine days. I am very much an amateur photographer, but have done some daily photos/365 projects over the years – I’m hoping we can look back at these when my kids are bigger (they’re 8 months and 4 years now), and talk about this strange time in history. Its also been nice to have a hobby that doesn’t involve work and keeping two kids happy and busy during the day!

  12. Emily says...

    Trying not to sound like a creeper- but toddler bathing suit wedgies are the cutest!!!

  13. Maryn says...

    Amanda Jane Jones is one of my favorite follows! Love seeing this from the archives.

  14. leslie says...

    I also like looking down on them, tops of head. They grow so fast, my two are taller than me now. :)

  15. Meg says...

    This did not apply to me years ago when it first published but it does now! I love seeing old articles again! Makes me love cupofjo all over again.

  16. So cute! Great tips! <3

  17. Natalie T. says...

    How darling are these photos?! I love the one of the feet on the tub and also believe of having photos of parents and kids together. Taking notes!

  18. These are wonderful!

  19. I love all of these – they’re so precious and are amazing keepsakes! I don’t have kids yet, but think I should start taking pictures like this of my husband, instead.

  20. Vanessa says...

    I lost my dad a few weeks ago and as I looked back through my photos I regretted that he wasn’t in enough of them. We spend so much time shooting our precious little ones their first few years — that we forget about including grandma and grandpa too.

    • Annie K. says...

      I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing f and for the reminder. As soon as we can get back together I’m taking photos of my kids with both sets of grandparents.

      I have such mixed feelings about technology, but am so endlessly grateful for all the photos and videos I have of my 1 and 3yr old. I also need to get a few more of me and them. And also, when I feel anxious about any of this, I remember that it only takes a few good photos a year to capture the moments, as demonstrated from the photos of my childhood.

  21. These are so beautiful and practical at the same time. Thank you for sharing!

  22. Lucy says...

    Kids in swimsuits are just so freaking cute! Love these photos.

  23. I’m definitely guilty of having one too many blurry shots and attempted poses on my phone. These are such great ideas to remedy that. It’s so true that mums are so often behind the camera that they aren’t pictured in the moment. I want to make sure my son and I have pictures together so we can both look back on being in those moments together.

  24. Dottie Louise says...

    What wonderful tips/reminders! I especially love the one about favorite toys because depending on their age / how long they have it it will be nostalgic for them when they’re older. That and I love the one about taking photos with mom (and dad) too! Not to mention what adorable photos! So sweet! :)

  25. sam says...

    a recommendation for a light weight, cute, great camera?

  26. Mel K says...

    What a sweet post! Would you be able to tell me where that adorable bear Jane is holding is from?

  27. Alexa says...

    Are there cameras out there that don’t make a loud click when snapping the photo? I feel like I miss so many shots on my camera (as opposed to poor quality on my phone) because I don’t want to wake my sensitive sleepers!

    • Shira says...

      I just learned how to turn off the click sound on my DSLR. It’s under settings. Game changer! :)

    • I love from behind photos. My kids love walking hand in hand, can’t ask for better photos.

  28. Jenny says...

    I didn’t do half bad! I don’t have as many profile shots of my boy as I’d like, but I think I naturally document the others that were mentioned ( especially bath time).

    Like the other women above, I’m not in as many pictures with my husband and son as I’d like. I’m just not sure how to ask, and me being in the photo doesn’t often happen organically, or when we try my son never looks at the camera. Blurg!

    • Just hand over the camera, Jenny. I had a project in 2012 where I told my husband I want at least one decent pic of me and the kids every month. It feels awkward the first couple of times but you (and he) will get into it :)

  29. Great list! I would add if there is anything that you love doing nearly every day (walks, cooking together, etc) then add that to the list. My daughter and I love to take walks in our back alley or the local park and those pictures of our walks for the last 3 years are my favorite thing to look through and see how things have changed.

    • Dottie Louise says...

      Great addition! That’s so sweet – and wonderful that you have 3 years of it! :)

  30. Leslie says...

    Every once in awhile I take selfies with my kids, no matter how bad I think I look; glasses, no makeup, dirty hair or 17 chins! I know my kids will look back on them (and my older self), and be glad to have a few snaps of us just as we were. If I waited for the days I was done-up, I wouldn’t have any pictures with my kids!

  31. Roxana says...

    These photos are so beautiful!

    I so love “from behind” shots. Both my kids have the cutest bums. What kid doesn’t have a cute bum, though? :) And, I agree with another who said that there is something more candid about “from behind” shots.

    That said, my parents have a picture of my siblings and me on the beach in Florida. I was about 3 and my brother and sister were 6 and 5, respectively. They made us stand in a row, facing the ocean, and took a picture from behind. Of course, for a long time I didn’t understand why the picture was/is so cute, but now I do .

    One of my all time favorite pictures of my son (and husband) was one I took shortly after my son was born. They were both conked-out on our bed and both sleeping in the EXACT SAME position. . . on their sides with their legs curled-up and fists tucked under their chins. My son is my husband’s mini-me, so the picture is that much more hilarious. And precious.

    Thanks for sharing! And sorry for the super-long comment :).

  32. Kellie P. says...

    These are great tips! Totally true about moms being left out of pictures, but does anyone else feel awkward asking people “hey can you take a picture of me and my kids?” I even feel weird asking my husband…

    • I feel awkward about it too, but want them so much!

    • Aidel.K says...

      I worry they will run off with my phone!

  33. I love the profile shots, what a wonderful idea! My favorite photos to capture are my fiancé and my daughter walking together. I have numerous photos of them walking together hand in hand and it is just beyond precious! you can see how much she has grown as she gets taller and taller next to his frame! I cannot wait to do the same once our 2nd daughter starts walking!

    xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

  34. I have no photos with my children because I am the photographer of the family and my husband is not good at taking pictures.
    Sometimes I wonder if my boys will ask themselves if I was a figment of their imagination… ha!

  35. Amanda Jane Jones… Always knocking it out of the park!

  36. Karen says...

    These are sure sweet, but I worry about the difference between sweet snaps perfect for private family enjoyment (re: bathtub pictures) and what would be crossing the line of privacy and safety for your child online.

    • Kara says...

      Don’t post them online? I have many, many photos of my children and family that I don’t post online- they are family photos.

  37. Dominique says...

    I love “from behind” pictures. Nearly all of the pictures of my kids that end up in my office are from behind and nearly all of my favorite pictures of my husband and I are from behind. I think it is that they seem much more candid that pictures where the person being photographed knows that.

  38. Oh, these are so precious.
    One of my favorite photos isn’t even of my own kid, but of my niece when she was about 3 and, very hot, had a bottle of water dumped on her to keep her from overheating. She loved it and her face is just full of joy at getting wet.
    It’s those joyful moments….
    They happen when kids get older, though they become aware of the camera. They have their own cameras. They become obsessed with selfies. But those aren’t the same. It’s important to continue to capture moments that will tell stories about their childhoods, including late childhood/adolescence.

  39. I definitely don’t have enough pictures of my son sleeping or from behind, thanks for sharing this!

  40. Allison says...

    One of my favourite photo ops is when they are looking out the window.

    • Roxana says...

      Yes! Totally agree. We have some great ones of our two looking out the window. They’re fixed on something else and aren’t posing. Candid and lacking self-awareness. Beautiful!

  41. Saskia says...

    really LOVE this post!

  42. Christy says...

    So sweet. I am loving this today. I miss my little boy even more now since I’m at work.

    • karinny says...

      Me too!

  43. Such sweet photos! This is such an emotional post for this mama whose babies are two and four this week, and thus barely still babies at all.

  44. Love this! Amanda’s Instagram is one of my favorites!

  45. beautiful pics!

  46. Alice Quin says...

    How adorable is this? Thank you for the sweet reminder.

  47. melissa says...

    adrienne’s comments exactly…you always here how fast time goes but you don’t realize how golden these years are until you experience them yourself. ok now i am tearing up. love this post!

  48. So adorable! I’m not a mom yet (I’m only 21!) but seriously, this is way too cute. I am looking at all of these with a huge smile, what great ideas!

  49. As a mum of 2 little people I find myself looking at these photos with tears in my eyes. It’s such a wonderful, fleeting time isn’t it? And that little baby bottom is killing me!