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I'm a fine art film photographer living in the mountains and traveling to tell beautiful stories

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how to photograph your kids at home

little girl smiles for camera | how to photograph your kids at home video guide by Mary Dougherty

I am so excited to walk you through the process of how to photograph your kids at home. Go behind the scenes in my own home and watch as I create images of my kids that I love. If you want to take self portraits, open this post as well.

You can you use your phone, digital camera or film camera to create images like this. All of the images in this post were shot on my phone and edited on my phone. Want to know how? Join me here.

how to photograph your kids at home video tutorial


  • 00:27 – candy bribes are always acceptable in my opinion
  • 00:50 – the closer you are to your light source (window) the brighter your subject will be – which is why a table helps in this situation
  • 1:17 – a light meter tells you exactly how much light you have, necessary when shooting film
  • 2:10 – my iso is set at 200 and my aperture at 3.2 shutter speed is 1/100
  • 2:40 – play peekaboo or another game / singing a song
  • 2:45 – before and after of edited iphone images
  • 3:30 – join my list where you will get an editing tutorial

unlock the next video


Who is ready to give this a try? If you do, post on Instagram and include the hashtag #myportraitathome and click to get inspired. Save an image to Pinterest and invite your friends to join in.

If you are interested in seeing professional images I have taken using this exact set up, take a look at this post.

How to prepare for taking pictures at home

  • Start by finding the light that is present in your own home. Turn off lights, open windows and spend a day observing where light enters through out the day.
  • Simplify your backdrop by clearing out furniture, setting up a paper or cloth backdrop (I am using a Savage seamless paper roll in bone from B+H)
  • Prepare your subject. Talk with your kids about this idea of taking pictures (it took Dove a few months to come around) and invite them to be a part of it. The great thing about shooting at home is you can pick a time and mood when it works for you.

As a wedding photographer it is second nature to walk into a room and find ways to use the light and make it beautiful. Windows are my favorite light source because the set up is minimal!

how to photograph your kids at home tutorial video by Mary Dougherty portrait and family photographer

Five reasons why you should create photographs at home

  1. Memory. Pictures help shape our memory, so create an image you love to look back on. Are you finally able to spend time together? Focus on that over the stress of homeschooling.
  2. A fun activity. Allow your kids to be involved and do a shoot of their stuffed animals or pets to warm them up to the idea.
  3. You want to become a better photographer. The best way to do so is to practice regularly. No excuse to not give this a try.
  4. Save money. If you aren’t looking to invest in photos this year learn to photograph yourself or family!
  5. Practice Gratitude. There is so much to be grateful for, even in a time of pandemic. The fact that I can be at home and create this content is evidence.
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