People or bugs, people or bugs….

I have often thought to myself that it is much easier to photograph wildlife than people. In particular I have never understood how people manage to do kid photography.  Not a view many people agree with, but I have always struggled and found it stressful to get “that” shot when working with portraits. Especially when it is my kids – why would they keep still for me?

Kid Photography

So, as it was Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK, I had an extra day to entertain the kids. This gave me the idea that could get in some extra practise!

It was a sunny Saturday morning, and decided that the beach would be the venue. Not only does it make a lovely backdrop, I knew the kids could have some fun there. (Unlike some local gardens I once took them to – not making that mistake again!)

My eldest decided, before we even left the house that cartoons on the TV was more appealing than the beach. However, my youngest was full of enthusiasm at the idea, so it was two against one. We went to the beach.

We had about half an hour of protest from my eldest on arrival – everything was wrong! Until she got to climb some rocks, found a fossil, had a rock throwing contest, got to have a go at taking some photos with my camera (I’m so brave!), and build a stone castle complete with stone jail! It turns out there is a lot to do at the beach – and “it really is fun!”

How did I get on?

So, making the most of those moments when they were engrossed in play I was able to get some lovely natural shots of them.


I decided to use my 100mm macro lens for this session. Even though it calls itself a macro lens, I had heard that it makes a great portrait lens too. So I was going to put it to the test!

I attached a flash to my camera to fill in the shadows. Although it was a sunny day I didn’t want shadows on their faces. 


Because I was using my flash I was limited to an upper shutter speed of 1/200. This was fine though as the flash kept the action “frozen”. I wanted to create a slightly blurry background to set the kids apart from the background slightly so set my aperture to f/4. these settings allowed me to keep a low ISO 100.

Kid photography - crazy kids

crazy kids


Child climbing rocks

Kid photography - Child on the beach

Child on the beach


In conclusion

By the time we were due to leave she didn’t want to go and declared it was the best day ever!

The bonus was that I was pleased with my shots, although I still stand by my claim that bugs and beasties are less stressful to photograph!

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This article was original posted in May 2016, and updated March 2018 (and for the record bugs are still easier to photograph than kids!)

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