If your most recent batch of children’s portraits are feeling a bit blasé, maybe it’s time to try something new. Keep reading for a few tips on getting more out of your children’s portraits to create memorable images that you and your kids will love.
Endless portraits of children’s faces, no matter how adorable, begin to feel a bit underwhelming after a while. Including the surroundings adds context (time and place) to photos, as well as making them more memorable for the children who are in them.
Additionally, by stepping back a bit you might have more of an opportunity to use the environment to include composition tools like leading lines or natural frames to make for more impactful children’s portraits.
This might seem a bit counter-intuitive, but why take only children’s portraits that include faces? Feet, arms, backs of heads, even half faces make for fun portraits and get you thinking outside of the box – as well as creating fun photos of your kids.
These types of children’s portraits can also morph into more lifestyle photography – including the things that your kids like to do on a daily basis, rather than just saying cheese for the camera.
Finding interesting places to take photos can go a big way towards making your children’s portraits more memorable. You might have to map out a few places and try them out – there’s no guarantee that places will work in your photography.
Think about the places we typically go for children’s portraits, such as parks, playgrounds, beaches, etc. and find places that are different. I might not go as far as the city dump, but how about an auto wreckers? Condo under construction? Railway?
While all the composition rules lead us to believe that we should always get in close on faces and use the rule of thirds in portrait photography, sometimes we get fun and interesting results when we don’t conform to the rules.
– Intentional blur: Focus on the background, rather than your child/subject
– Camera tilt: Rather than straight lines, tilt your camera by 30 degrees
– Walk away: Shoot a few frames of your subject walking away from you, looking away, or staring off into the distance
– Centered: Try a few frames of your subject dead center in the frame, and then a few at different points off to the side. While centered images tend to be a bit more static, they sometimes work if you can get your child to look directly into the camera.
Some of the best “portraits” happen when your child least expects it. This may take some planning and inventiveness on your part, along with a zoom or telephoto lens. Wait until your child is absorbed in an activity, point and shoot. If you can, try to capture a few of them looking in the general direction of the camera, without giving away what you are doing.
Have fun with creating children’s portraits and the effort will pay off in your images!