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24 Tips for Taking the Best Father's Day Photo EVER!

I am THRILLED that so many of you LOVED the post; 24 Tips for Taking the Best Mother’s Day Photo EVER!

What do you say we give Dad a turn for Father’s Day?!  He also deserves the BEST Father’s Day Photo EVER!

Dad.  Appa.  Babba.  Papa.  Bappo.  Pai.   No matter what language you speak or what you call your father, all dads possess the same super powers:

  • They have the ability to call out our greatness like no one else.
  • They give us a sense of identity when they wrap their arm around us and say, “You belong.”
  • When dad believes you can do something, you are inspired to believe it too.

The degree of influence that dads hold in our lives is so intense that we either spend our lives trying to heal from it or spread our wings and fly with it.  I’ve gone through much in my life, but my most intense journey of all has been the relationship with my Korean ahba.  He and I have worked for years to find healing with each other, and I count our relationship as one of the most precious gifts in my life.  I am so thankful we never gave up on each other.

As I watch Brian with our kids, I know they see his imperfections.  They are moved by how quick he is to ask them for forgiveness when he is at fault.  And he calls them to a greater place of challenge than anyone else.  But he is also the first to embrace their weaknesses.  I see all these dynamics, and it is no wonder that the kids long to shadow and reflect him.

0100-Fathers Day Photo Tips

Becoming a dad must be one of the scariest and most exhilarating commitments a man ever makes in life.  For Father’s Day, I want to honor all the dads who renew that commitment every day, who strive to not cut corners, who look their kids in the eye and see them, and work harder than anyone will ever know.  Their road is often lonely.  Their burden can be overwhelming.  But they still choose to push forward.  And for all of us who have experienced the kind of dad who hasn’t given up … well, I would bet that we could all testify that Dad’s perseverance has made all the difference.

With the returning help of my dear friend, Sarah Wilkerson — the fearless and beautiful CEO of Clickin Moms, (if you haven’t checked out the wealth of photo inspiration at Clickin Moms, you must) — and my awesome photography team of CONFIDENCE teachers around the country, who gave you 24 Tips to Taking the Best Mother’s Day Photo EVER … we are all back to to empower and inspire you with 24 different photo tips to capturing a rocking, awesome photo of DAD!


  • Tip 1: Give Up Control :) 1 of 26
    Tip 1: Give Up Control :)
    As women, we all have ideas of how we want a photo of our husband with the kids to look. This Father's Day, start by giving up control and handing the camera over. Let Dad be silly with self portraits. I always love how the kids respond. You can BEG them to get in the photo, and they can resist till kingdom come. But when Dad starts playing with the camera, sit back and enjoy how the kids will try and sneak in. They know a good time when they see one. For me, this sometimes starts with giving up control. Just saying... :)
  • Tip 2: Set Up a Tickle Time! 2 of 26
    Tip 2: Set Up a Tickle Time!
    Kids LOVE to be tickled by Dad. And I think that dads LOVE tickling their kids even more! I love how my San Francisco photography teacher, Lynda Kennedy, captured this story! Notice where the light is. She has the dad and son right next to the window for great available light. She can avoid her flash being fired. And also notice how she framed the moment. There is no background, she got in real tight so all our attention would be focused on their joy.
  • Tip 3: Use Continuous Shooting Mode 3 of 26
    Tip 3: Use Continuous Shooting Mode
    I love how Beth Wendland, my Portland, OR photography teacher captured this hilarious moment between dad and son! Set your camera to Continuous Shooting mode so you can capture every second of action that takes place between Dad and the kids. No matter how old the kids are, there is always mischief when taking photos with Dad!
  • Close Up of Tip 3 4 of 26
    Close Up of Tip 3
    I had to share another in the series! Which makes me think of a great Father's Day gift! You could take your own series and then frame them in a row for your dad's office!
  • Tip 4: He Can Fly! 5 of 26
    Tip 4: He Can Fly!
    Dads teach us how to fly. They start when we are little by throwing us up in the air. And when we are older, ready to leave the nest, they show us that our wings are stronger than we realize. I LOVE how my Wisconsin photography teacher, Tina Erdmann caught a timeless flying moment. The trick with this type of shot is to snap the camera at the height of the toss when Dad's arms are straight. In fact, I have a whole photo recipe dedicated to teaching you how to get this photo in my new book that just became available on Amazon: Your Child in Pictures! (my first "unofficial announcement" :)
  • Tip 5: Highlight Physical Characteristics 6 of 26
    Tip 5: Highlight Physical Characteristics
    This Tattoo Daddy came with his family to be a model for one of my CONFIDENCE Photography Workshops in CA. When I saw the tattoos peaking out from under his short sleeved shirt, I had to ask..."Would you mind taking off your shoot for the photo shoot?" He was a little surprised but such a great sport. How can you highlight a specific feature that your kids will always remember about dad? It can be his weathered hands from hard labor or his greasy hands after working on the car. What about his moustache or his smile--a tight photo with no eyes just the nose and smile. The ideas are endless!
  • Tip 6: Surround Dad with Love 7 of 26
    Tip 6: Surround Dad with Love
    Capture an image that tells the story of how much everyone loves dad, especially mama. Notice how we don't even see Mama's face in this photo because it's more about feeling her love for Dad. And it's also not important to have Dad looking at the camera. In fact, we often feel MORE emotion when subjects aren't looking at the camera.
  • Tip 7: Pull Back 8 of 26
    Tip 7: Pull Back
    I love Sarah's tip for paying attention to scale and size of Dad, kids and scenery. She writes: Pull back! Especially with fathers of very young children, let Dad's size shine - he may not always be taller than they are, and showcasing his size relative to his children in a wide angle shot makes him feel big and strong.
  • Tip 8: Identify Your Favorite Everyday Moments 9 of 26
    Tip 8: Identify Your Favorite Everyday Moments
    Jennifer Tacbas is not only our Georgia state photography teacher, but she is also a new mama! Every Monday she writes a post called First Year for my blog, sharing all kinds of yummy baby photos and photo tips for that first precious year with baby. For this tip she writes: My favorite images of my husband with our daughter, Logan, are the everyday images photos of moments that happen in our home and are not set up. This image of Jason and Logan was taken on our bed while the three of us were just hanging out. What I wanted to feature in my image was Jason watching over Logan. I positioned myself lower so that Logan was sitting closer to the camera than Jason and so that Logan was on the right side of the frame and Jason on the left. By focusing my camera on Logan (and using a low aperture, such as f2.8), I blurred Jason slightly in the background. This image is straight out of the camera and may be my favorite image of Jason & Logan so far!
  • Tip 9: Ask Dad for Ideas 10 of 26
    Tip 9: Ask Dad for Ideas
    Whenever I ask Brian what type of photo he'd like me to take of him with the kids, I'm always surprised. As mom, I tend to think of more affectionate, cuddly shots with the kids. Brian...he thinks of jumping off sand dunes! Next time you go to the park, beach, skiing, or sand dunes, ask dad if there is a fun, action photo that he'd like to have.
  • Part 2 of Tip 9 11 of 26
    Part 2 of Tip 9
    Make sure your camera is set up for freezing action (see Tip 3), so you get every second of what happens when dad lands in the sand dunes! Part 2 is almost more fun then Part 1!
  • Tip 10: How Little of Dad can You Frame? 12 of 26
    Tip 10: How Little of Dad can You Frame?
    Jess Robertson, our Southern CA photography teacher, captured the BEST moment! I love how "little" we see of dad because we end up "feeling" his presence that much more. Play around with the idea of "Less is More". How little of dad can you have in the frame while still having his presence be the focus of the story? Such a fun photo challenge! Thank you Jess for the inspiration!
  • Tip 11: Add a Little Camera Tilt 13 of 26
    Tip 11: Add a Little Camera Tilt
    Amy Rhodes, my Las Vegas photography teacher, captures the most beautiful color in her photos! On top of the color, she also added a little bit of camera tilt (you got it, just tilting the camera a hair) so that it would accentuate the action happening between dad and his boy. Next time you are shooting an action shot of dad with the kids, tilt that camera just a hair and the action will feel even more ALIVE!
  • Tip 12: Be Sneaky! 14 of 26
    Tip 12:  Be Sneaky!
    If dad is camera shy, keep an eye out for moments when he is engaged with the kids but has his back to the camera.
  • Tip 13: The Teacher in Dad 15 of 26
    Tip 13:  The Teacher in Dad
    If you asked a kid "Does your dad love to teach you things?" I guarantee they will say yes. They may roll their eyes as they say yes, but they will nod. Look for a time when dad is teaching the kids something new--when everyone is engaged. While in Egypt, Brian thought it was time for Pascaline to learn how to play pool. It was dark in this ale house, so I had to bump up my ISO to 800, even 1600, to make sure I had enough light so I wouldn't have to use a flash.
  • Tip 14: Combine Opposites 16 of 26
    Tip 14: Combine Opposites
    What is more powerful than the two opposites of a helpless baby in dad's strong arms? Allison Gallagher shares "I love the juxtaposition of a dad's big strong hands and the delicate helplessness of his tiny baby. It just says, "Daddy is here to protect you." I have found that a photo shoot of a daddy with a new baby is also one of the times that men are more likely to show their emotions and vulnerability in an image. And we mamas just love it, don't we?" What opposites can you combine for a photo of dad with the kids; your daughter in a tutu with dad in a cowboy hat? What about your preschooler trying to imitate dad shaving with dad's reflection in the bathroom mirror. Opposites are all around and so fun to capture!
  • Tip 15: Define the Hero 17 of 26
    Tip 15:  Define the Hero
    I LOVE how silhouettes bring clear definition to our subjects. We often think of taking silhouettes at sunset, but what about in the middle of a sunny day? When camping in Egypt's desert, Brian and the kids went exploring on what used to be ocean reefs thousands of years ago (no kidding, there were shells all through the desert sand while the nearest body of water was hours away!). When they climbed to the top, I saw the bright background behind them and thought "Perfect for a Silhouette!" The first photo I took of them was kind of boring because they were just standing there. So I asked them to cheer like heroes, to bring more definition to their body and energy to the moment. This has to be one of my favorite family travel photos ever!
  • Tip 16: Turn Off the Lights 18 of 26
    Tip 16: Turn Off the Lights
    I could look at Jen Bebb's photography all day! The Clickin Moms community is so blessed to have her as a mentor! I LOVE this BW photo of her husband with the boys because of the emotion and how the dramatic lighting accentuates the emotion. If you want this same result in your photos, turn off all the lights in your room and have dad and the kids get SUPER close to the window light. This way, they are lit and everything else behind them stays dark. It sounds counter intuitive, but sometimes it's better to take away light to "see" the light.
  • Tip 17: Stay Away from the Poser Mentality 19 of 26
    Tip 17: Stay Away from the Poser Mentality
    Clickin Moms,Monica Wilkinson ,writes; During a photo shoot, dads are usually nervous and already not thrilled to be having family photos. They can seem a bit stiff and awkward during posed shots. Be sure to get some shots showing dad having fun! They do not always need to be posed and looking at the camera for a great shot. You can capture some of the best smiles in real, unposed moments!
  • Tip 18: Incorporate the Homeade Project 20 of 26
    Tip 18: Incorporate the Homeade Project
    I love how Laura Swift, one of our Virginia photography teachers, reminds us to incorporate the project dad and kids have been working on. She writes; "Kids think dads are so awesome and love to imitate them. Why not find a way to photograph a hobby they share? This is a homemade bow using a PVC pipe made by a dad for his son. He was teaching his son to use the bow and arrow for the first time." When I read this tip from Laura, I instantly thought of all the hours Brian and Blaze spend on Legos together!
  • Tip 19: Allow the Focus on Dad to be Secondary 21 of 26
    Tip 19: Allow the Focus on Dad to be Secondary
    Sarah reminds us of one of my FAVORITE photo tips! If you want to help bring out the emotion in a parent, focus on the child. By allowing the focus on dad to be secondary, and even a bit soft in focus, his presence in the photo can become that much stronger.
  • Tip 20: Zoom Baby, Zoom! 22 of 26
    Tip 20: Zoom Baby, Zoom!
    My San Antonio photography teacher, Summie Roach writes; As children get older, quality and quantity times are sometimes very far and few. I love to capture times when my son and my husband just do "something" without me. Here we were on vacation and the two of them wandered off together, collecting sea shells. What a great opportunity for me to capture! By using my zoom lens, I was able to get in close while still being far away. By getting low to the sand while keeping my focus on them, I was able to blur out the foreground and the background, capturing how their steps were in sync, walking in the same direction with a mission.
  • Tip 21: Whispers Unfold Great Moments 23 of 26
    Tip 21:  Whispers Unfold Great Moments
    Clickin Moms, Amy Lucy Lockheart, says; There is nothing more special than a Dad showing affection to his child. Ask Dad to whisper something sweet in the child's ear and then give some kisses. The photos that result are often the favorites of both Mom and Dad.
  • Tip 22: Consider BW (When Color isn’t Essential) 24 of 26
    Tip 22: Consider BW (When Color isn't Essential)
    Clickin Moms, Ashley Spaulding, says, "Catch Dad when he's engaging in an everyday ritual with his kids." I love how Ashley chose to make this photo BW. Sometimes the simple decision to take away all the color helps the story's energy and emotion become that much more powerful. When trying to decide whether an image should be BW or color, I often ask myself it the color is important to telling the story. If not, why not choose BW tones?
  • Tip 23: Dial into His Kind of Humor 25 of 26
    Tip 23: Dial into His Kind of Humor
    Clickin Moms, April Nienhuis, encourages photographers and moms to do the background work of finding out what makes dad laugh. Cracking a joke at the perfect moment will get you a natural smile, but knowing what kind of jokes dad responds to is key.
  • Tip 24: Journal First 26 of 26
    Tip 24: Journal First
    I love how I have watched my husband evolve as a man, husband, and father. He is always growing, transforming and often surprising me. A few months ago, I took some time to journal about him--who Brian is today, who I see him becoming, what words come to mind to describe him. One of the key words I wrote was Visionary. This word inspired a creative process for myself. Instead of just wanting a great portrait of Brian, I started looking for moments when I saw that Visionary in him. I started building my own creative vision for what I was wanting to photograph. This influenced every choice I made for this photo. I set my FAVORITE point and shoot, SONY RX100, to one of the picture effects so the sunrise's color would be richly saturated, as well as the top and bottom blurred. I framed Brian in the bottom corner because I wanted to give this sense of him looking for vision. Did he stand there for me? No. He didn't need to because I had already been thinking for weeks about what story I was looking for. So when it appeared, my camera was ready. As I write this, I realize that my journal entry could also be a great addition to a photo gift for Father's Day.

Keep Learning from Me Ra and her CONFIDENCE Teachers:

*Get the 5 Most Important Photo Tips that will Change Your Photos Overnight when You Subscribe to Me Ra’s newsletter!

Three Keys to Telling a Great Photo Story!

Photograph Kids Using Soft Light and Blurred Backgrounds (VIDEO)

10 More Episodes from “Capture Your Story with Me Ra Koh”

18 Ways to Grow Your Photography this Spring

13 Ways to Engage the Photographer in Your Kids (from Me Ra and her two kids!)

14 Photo Tips to Capture Love

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