Have you ever looked at a kid’s portrait (or any portrait, for that matter) and thought “wow – great colors!”? You might think that this type of look is only achievable with a significant amount of post-photo editing in a program like Photoshop, but the truth is, with a few considerations you can make your colors “pop” too in your children’s portrait photos.

Complimentary Colors are Key

The first thing you want to consider to make colors pop is the colors in your image. Complimentary colors (opposite on the color wheel) work together to bring out the vibrancy in each. Here are complimentary colors to consider:

  • Red against green
  • Blue against orange
  • Purple against yellow

So, if your child is wearing a red coat, find some green trees or grass. For orange, look for open areas where you can contrast against the sky. You also don’t have to focus on just the above colors; you can use pinks against greens/yellows, light blues against dark yellow/oranges, etc.

Contrast Against the Background

If complimentary colors aren’t going to work, due to where you are, time of day, etc., try to find backgrounds that aren’t distracting. The more neutral the background (without being boring), the better.

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However, you can also flip this tips on your head – simply find a fun, busy, colorful background and gave your child in something that’s simple and more neutral (such as pastels). They will stand out from the background, simply by being “different” than their surroundings.

Start Small

With color, in order to make it “pop,” you want to use it in small amounts (relative to the photo), otherwise, it might overwhelm the image. So, if it’s something like a hat, balloon, etc. you can get closer to it takes up some of the frame. However, if your child is dressed in head to toe red against a green background, you might want to pull back so the color isn’t taking up the entire image.

Final Touches

Of course, in a perfect world, the use of color in kid’s portraits would come out perfect every time. However, when it doesn’t, it doesn’t hurt to take a stab at boosting colors in an editing program like Photoshop, Lightroom, or even a free program like Picassa. By playing with hue/saturation settings, you can help to boost the colors in your kid’s portraits to really make the colors “pop.”

Have fun experimenting with different color combinations, props, and scenes to make your children’s portraits stand out!


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