It doesn’t matter how popular lifestyle and documentary style photography gets… we’ll always love a good old close up portrait of our kids.
But they don’t have to be traditional or boring!
We’ve curated a bunch of kids portraits from our Grads that catch your eye immediately because they’re full of personality, they’re a little bit different, or they’re simply FUN! (or all of the above!)
Check out the tips, be inspired, and go try some of these ideas yourself! Then pop em in a frame and get em on the wall so you can smile every time you walk past!
There’s heaps of benefits to capturing your kids in character. Firstly, they love it! And that means they’re much more inclined to want to pose for you, smile and laugh naturally and candidly. It adds interest and an element of fun to a traditional head shot, and it’s an easy way to showcase their personality.
If you let the camera choose where it focuses, in a shot like this one above it’s probably going to grab onto the hat. And that will put your subject’s face out of focus.
The good news is you can control this by switching your camera to manual focus point selection mode. This means you choose the focal point that the camera uses to focus, and by choosing a focus point that sits on your subject’s eye, you’ll get a sharp shot exactly where you need it.
Related: Master your Focus
Heads up… you can’t use manual focus point selection when using your camera in auto mode. So take a leap of faith and switch over to manual mode!
Related: Getting out of Auto
Kids respond way better to photos when you engage them instead of asking them to pose. How do you do that? Play with them! Chat, use funny voices, ask ridiculous questions, sing songs, encourage them to be silly.
Related: 10 Tricks for Natural Kids Photos
Using the environment (natural or man-made) to frame your subject is one of the strongest compositional tools at your disposal. Notice how your eye goes immediately to Melissa’s daughter in this shot? Also, her choice of framing and the included elements give context and tell a story.
The bonus of Melissa’s decision to use the window to frame her is the beautiful soft window light.
When taking a shot like this you can’t avoid reflections entirely, but that’s ok. When you look through your viewfinder, take notice if reflections are obscuring your subject, and adjust your own position slightly until you have a clear view of your subject.
If you’re in the northern hemisphere and you get the soft white stuff in your part of the world… lucky you! Head outdoors and try this one.
Expose for the snow so you don’t end up with distracting blown out highlights.
Related: 7 Secrets for Snow Portraits
No explanation necessary, but I love the movement and fun in this shot!
When your subject is moving, you can end up with blurry photos. The solution is a faster shutter speed to freeze the motion.
For motion of this speed, you’ll need a shutter speed of at least 1/500, and use your other settings to get a good exposure.
Related: How to Freeze Motion
This compositional technique is fantastic for more creative, out of the box portraits. Choose your focus point so you can ensure your camera focuses on your subject and not the branches.
In a shot like this it’s really important to isolate your subject well so that you lead the eye directly to them and not the element nearest your lens. The best way to do that is to create a shallow depth of field, which you get by shooting with a wide aperture of say f/2.
Grab your little love… and ask them to bring their own little love into the shot. Right now they’re probably rarely without their favourite softy… but trust me, a day will come when they’re not so attached. Capture it now so you can treasure that memory forever.
For more dramatic natural light, place your subject against a plain wall, at a 90 degree angle to a soft light source such as a window or doorway.
I love the quiet moment captured in this portrait, and the contrast of motion in the water droplets. For those reasons, it lent itself perfectly to a black & white conversion.
So speaking of b&w editing… do you know what makes a great b&w shot? Quite simply… a good range of tones from light to dark. If you have texture, even better.
Related: B&W Photo Essentials
Hang some fairy lights up behind your subject for a pretty and festive backdrop.
In this portrait Kelly had her subject lean against a mirror, then shot her in profile, and focussed on the reflection. Simples!
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