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How to Photograph Your Children at the Playground [5 Easy Tips]

How to Photograph Your Children at the Playground [5 Easy Tips]

When I wondered about tips for how to photograph my children at the playground, the obvious choice for advice and a guest post was Casey Raines who teaches moms how to do just that in her Momtography OC classes – and also happens to be a neighbor of mine.

Casey gifted me with some fun new profile photos (since I was in dire need of an update after 4 years) as a thanks I offered to share her photography tips with you. You know I don’t do this very often, so I truly hope you get something out of her tips! Here’s how her photograph of me turned out:

michele on a swing

And here are the tips for how to photograph your children that Casey wanted to share with you:

5 Tips for How to Photograph Your Children at the Playground

If your kids are anything like mine, they love going to the playground! Luckily, we live a short 5 minute walk away, so we are always able to get a quick trip in to swing, climb and slide. Since we spend so much time there, I have been able to find many ways to capture beautiful photos of my kids while they play. 

Tip #1 – Make Photo Taking into a Game When You Photograph Your Children at the Playground

If you have kids that are a bit camera shy or tend to smile awkwardly when taking a photo, try making it fun with a game! Peek-a-boo, red light/green light, Simon Says or a simple game of pretend are all great options for capturing genuine smiles. When we can make photo taking into being more about meeting our kids need for fun and play, and less about getting our own perfect shot, that is when the magic will happen! The beautiful photos will begin falling into place with less effort and exasperation on your part.

photograph your children racing down slides

Tip #2 – Let Your Kids Take the Lead

Similar to the tip above, sometimes your kids want to be the star of the show in pictures, but more often than not, kids can be fickle about getting their photo taken. For those situations, let your kids take the lead with the playing and look to capture those candid photos. Some great moments to capture include where they quietly play by themselves, or where they find a friend to run off and play hide and seek with, or where they are working to learn how to climb a piece of equipment.

photograph your children girl climbing at playground

Tip #3 – Use Lines in Playground Equipment to Strengthen a Photo

Lines are among the most fundamental element in a photo as they can create shapes, texture, and serve as focus points for your eye. I love how playground equipment is full of lines that can add great visual interest to your image! Look for the horizontal lines of the platforms, vertical lines of swings, or wavy lines of a slide as these are great ways to strengthen a park photo.

girl sliding down slide

Tip #4 – Find Open Shade to Photograph Your Children

Light is so important in photography! Unfortunately, my kids love heading to the playground during the middle of the day when the sun is the harshest. Bright midday sun is typically the worst time for photo taking because you get squinty eyes and shadows on the face. My recommendation is to try and find a shady location like under a tree or beneath the playground equipment. But, if that isn’t an option, place the sun behind your subject so you don’t get that raccoon eye look!

boy on a rope bridge

Tip #5 – Get YOU into the Shot

Finally, don’t forget to include YOU in the photo! Pass your camera off to another family member or friend so you can have a photo of you playing with your kids at the playground. Get one of you pushing your kid on the swings, going down the slide side by side, or building the ultimate sand castle. Your kids will thank you later for having those special moments of you together at the playground captured.

mom in photograph with children


Hope you have enjoyed these tips and will use them at your next playground adventure! 

About Casey: Visit Momtography OC for details about her next class (June 8th, 2019) and to connect with her on Instagram @caseyrainesphoto ! To learn more tricks to beautifully capture your family, she would love to have you at her next group class. Designed for the mom, dad, grandparent, aunt, or uncle on the go, Momtography is the jumpstart course that teaches you how to get your camera out of AUTO mode and working for you in any situation.

Find new parks for playground photos!

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