10 Things to Look For In Every Child Photography Session Part 2 (6-10)

by Eric Von Lehmden | August 20, 2013

Told you I would be back to give you Part 2 for the last 5 things to try to capture in every child photography session. Like I mentioned in part 1...you may not get all 10 of these things every session, but that doesn't mean you should try to get them and plan on getting them. Part of being a great portrait photographer is being flexible and working with what your subject is giving you. The other part is getting them to do what you want them to do. That can be especially difficult when photographing children.

Short recap of Part 1. We covered 1. a natural laugh 2. A serious or non smile natural look 3. a close up 4. a photo of the child playing and 5. using white space to tell a story. Now in part 2 I wan to cover photographing at a unique angle, capturing a unique personality trait, a photo for the grandparents, a connection with the eyes, and finally something to build the portfolio. You might be able knock a few of these birds off with one stone. You can certainly combine a few of the items on this list into one photo. For example you might get an amazing natural laugh photo at a unique angle while they are playing. Sorry, no extra points for the combo. But that does mean that you are thinking and more importantly...seeing the shots. Ok, let's go through Part 2 in a little more detail.

6. Capturing a child's portrait at a unique angle

child portrait tips

This kind of leaves the door wide open to your interpretation. The most important thing about this photo is that the angle or perspective adds to the photo's story. You can take interesting angles all day long, but if the photos you are taking are of the back of the child's head then the impact of the angle is lost. So go exploring. Get on the ground, on your belly, criss cross applesauce. Move around the child or have them move around you. Sometimes you capture a great shot when they aren't looking at the camera. That can be an interesting angle. You see, I made this one wide open to interpretation. Have fun with it.

7. Capture a unique personality trait

child portrait tips

Sure you want to get the laugh and the smile and all of that. But what I really want the parents to say when they see the photos of their child is, "Oh, that is sooo him/her. I see that a lot at home". That means you captured some truth in that child. A piece of their personality. Talk with the parents before the session starts and ask them questions about their child and what their personality is like. Independent, joker, shy, free spirit, kind and gentle, or all over the place. Now try to capture a little bit of that...easier said than done.

8. A photo for the grandparents

child portrait tips

Possibly the easiest photo to take (knock on wood). This is the typical looking at the camera and smiling photo that every grandparent loves to frame as an 8x10. Jazz yours up a little with your location, lighting and lens choice.

9. A connection with the eyes

child portrait tips

Whenever any subject of mine is looking at the camera I want to try to let the camera connect with the eyes. Always focus on the eyes...not on the nose, or the mouth or forehead. Always focus on an eye. The eyes are the most important thing to be in focus for any portrait session. Eyes communicate the most in portraits. So if you are using a shallow depth of field when you are shooting (ie f1.8 - f2.8) then make sure you focus on the eyes.

10. A little something for my portfolio

child portrait tips

For every portrait session you do there should be something to add to your portfolio. That shot where you know you nailed it. If you are trying to build a certain style of child portrait photography then make sure you are getting those type of shots for your portfolio. When you are just starting out and are still building your portfolio you may need to take more general "vanilla" type portraits during your sessions. You can immediately start adding photos that represent your style to your online portfolio by taking a handful photo portraits each session that are your true style. Soon you will have a cohesive online portfolio that conveys your style. That way people will come to you expecting those type of photos when they come to you.

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Tips-n-Tricks #22

If you are at a concert or sporting event and your seats are far away from your subject go ahead and turn off your flash. You are too far away to reach your subject. It will drain your camera's batteries and the only thing it will light up is the back of the heads of the 3 rows in front of you.


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