“Stop making that face!”
“Just one more photo for mommy…?”
This has been me many times despite beautiful locations, plenty of snacks, and the occasional bribe. When photographs come together, they reveal a connection and a glimpse of your child experiencing the world. You don’t need a thousand-dollar camera to get some print-worthy results. Instead bring patience, wipes, and possibly some natural bug spray. Read on to learn a handful of tips for photographing your sweet and unruly children.
1. Make it Fun
It doesn’t take kids long to get fed up with a camera lens or phone in their face. Try making the photos a game. Peek-a-boo is great for the littlest ones. For the next age set, let them pick a silly word to say as the photo cue or have them hunt for a pretty rock or leaf to show you.
2. Create a Series
Sometimes your child has an expression that you just love or one that makes you laugh. I personally can’t get enough of the pouty lips and crying faces. Either way, take a handful of your favorites and make a grid – as shown here. The next three images are matching in composition and draw attention to my son’s changing facial expressions.
3. Get in the Shade
We all love our sunny Colorado days, but that bright sun can add some not-so-beautiful shadows under eyes, hats, and even the cutest button noses. Look for a pretty spot under the shade of a tree or the side of a building. The rare overcast day is perfect for photos.
4. Try a New Perspective
Switch up your angle. Straight on photos can get redundant. Shoot from down low to give your young kiddo a big presence or take the photo from above to highlight just how little they are in the world.
5. Emphasize Details
Does your daughter have the teeniest tiniest little ponytail? Did your kindergartner just lose his first tooth? Are your toddler’s knees covered in band-aids (with or without booboos underneath)? Get in super close and snap that photo.
6. Show Context
If your kid just learned how to ride a pedal bike, built a beautiful sandcastle, or skied Highland’s Bowl (yikes!), try to include some of the scene in your frame. Context doesn’t mean clutter, so make sure there is not a chairlift tower coming out from your child’s head or a guy in a Speedo photo-bombing your beach scene.
7. Include Yourself
Hop in there, mom or dad. Relinquish control and pass the camera to your partner, friend, or complete stranger. It doesn’t even need to be a full-body image. Take a photo of your baby’s hand holding your finger or take a selfie of your sweet child sleeping in the crook of your arm. (Please note – I need to take my own advice! We completed this shoot, and I had only one partial photo of myself.)
“Embrace the imperfections in your photographs: the grass-stained dress, the blurred hand, or the cut above your child’s eyebrow. These “flaws” make your photos authentic and true to life.” – Sarah Kuhn
Showcase Your Favorites
I have so many photographs on my computer, it is sometimes overwhelming. I try to select a few favorites every month or so and get them printed.
Artifact Uprising is one of my go-to resources for art-quality prints. They are an online company based in Denver. I love their signature paper stock which has the weight and feel of watercolor paper. They also offer easy design-online albums, like the one shown here of my family’s beach vacation. You can also find calendars, table-top boxes, and numerous framing options.
Written and photographed by Sarah Kuhn, art photographer
MP Student Essay Contest
WE LOVE OUR SCHOOLS
MP’s Cover Artists: Lily and Elana Royer
Meet the mother-daughter creative team behind Lilybart
A summer-long series about loving this place while flattening the curve.
Summer Camp Planner
Find the latest COVID program updates for summer camps and classes. Camps are happening!
Up-cycle an empty pet food bag for this easy project.
Roaring Fork Nature Parks
A “Wild at Heart” map of nearby places to discover (or rediscover) with your child.
Car Camping Lake Powell
You don’t need a houseboat to enjoy a getaway to our closest beaches.
Mothers Day Tribute
Three local women who exemplify Julia Ward Howe’s Proclamation of Peace.
A tragic fact of nature? Or way to find your wings?
Good Sports: Lacrosse
With the ROARING FORK LACROSSE CLUB, everyone is included and “it’s just fun.”
Helping Hands: Lucky Day Animal Rescue
This foster-based rescue group helps connect pets with their forever families.
MP Trail Map: Winter Hut Trips
A family-friendly guide to planning an adventure to one of Colorado’s backcountry huts.
Writing By Hand
What can parents do to help their children learn this life skill?
A mother redefines HEALTHY after her daughter’s Leukodystrophy diagnosis
DIY: Upcycled Owl
Spread your wings to make this cuddly stuffed owl designed by Handmakery’s Ami Maes.
Aspen Snowmass Nordic Trail System
MP Trail Map: A guide to Roaring Fork Valley cross-country ski trails.
Meet local eco-chocolate maker Mark Burrows.
Helping Hands: Roaring Fork Valley Kids Who Care
Act Locally: A student-led effort to save Sea Turtles and Rainforests.
Good Sports: Challenge Aspen
Q&A with Special Olympics and NASTAR ski racer Tanner Jadwin
Nighttime Family Staycation
Wintertime fun after dark with the kids.
DIY: Spa Day
Make your own bath time bliss at home.
The McBride Internship: Kenya
Roaring Fork Valley students visit Kenya’s Lewa Wildlife Conservancy.
Good Sports: Ski Racing
For this mother and her daughters, skiing is among their earliest memories.
Giving the best present of all: Ourselves
Helping Hands: LIFT-UP
Can you feed your family breakfast, lunch, and dinner for $4 per person per day?
Helping Hands: The Farm Collaborative
Farm-to-Table meets Food Insecurity
Q&A: Honeybee Play
Q&A with the teenage creators of a new original musical
Helping Hands: Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Folklórico
An award-winning after school dance program that’s about more than dancing. It’s a cultural bridge.
Getting Into College
Making sense of college admission statistics
Good Sports: BMX Biking
Crown Mountain Park’s bike racing facility has expanded into a world-class race course.
Harvest Road Trip
Drive Highway 133 from Carbondale to Hotchkiss and make new friends at our nearby farms.
Helping Hands: Way of Compassion Bike Project
One man’s trash is, indeed, another man’s treasure.
MP Trail Map: Mount Elbert
Your child’s first fourteener can also be Colorado’s highest peak.
Good Sports: Sailing
Aspen Rec Department’s Don Sheeley Sailing School
Find Yourself in the Lost Forest
Discover Aspen Skiing Company’s Lost Forest adventure park.
DIY: Skateboard Swing
Turn a discarded skateboard into a big backyard hit.
MORE to FIND in the LOST FOREST
Lots to do in the Aspen Snowmass Lost Forest
DIY: Portraits of Your Children
How to capture magical frame-worthy photos
Helping Hands: Colorado Animal Rescue
C.A.R.E. can help you figure out what kind of adoptable pet is right for you and your household.
Good Sports: Baseball
A Glenwood Springs High School graduate and college baseball recruit shares what he learned at the ballpark.
Homelife Recipes: Backyard Burgers
Q&A with Jerilyn Nieslanik about how to avoided the dreaded hockey puck burger
MP Trail Map: Hartman Rocks
High desert mountain biking between Crested Butte and Gunnison
Citizens of the World
Roaring Fork High School students become world travelers through an all-inclusive club
Where to find Wildlife
Learn about the untamed creatures you might encounter in our mountain forests and meadows.
The Art of Being ENOUGH
A Motherhood Manifesto
Yampah Mountain High School’s Teen Parent Program
A campus in Glenwood Springs where each student is met exactly how they are.
LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Roaring Fork Valley Schools
A community-wide PRIDE parade + other other Valley-wide efforts to welcome everyone.
Good Sports: Soccer
Reflections from an Aspen HIgh School midfielder and member of an elite all-valley women’s team.
MP Trail Map: Navajo Rocks
A family-friendly mountain biking destination near Moab, Utah
Helping Hands: Mountain Valley Developmental Services Greenhouse
A nonprofit gardening center where developmentally disabled adults work (and bloom).
Homelife Recipes: Passover Seder
Rabbi Emily Segal of Aspen Jewish Congregation reflects on this sacred meal (and shares her recipe for Matzah crack)
Good Sports: Black Belt
A RFHS student and Rising Crane Training Center Cuong Nhu black belt shares her accomplishment.
DIY: Chinese New Year Dragon Puppet
Step-By-Step instructions for making a fun puppet at home.