Everyone remembers those yearly visits to the portrait studio as a kid or at least I do. Mom would doll me up in a frilly little dress and fuss over hair placement between each click of the shutter. Things have become a lot easier thanks to digital photography and lightening fast processing, but we still find ourselves sitting across from that pushy sales person that insists you need to purchase every shot up on the screen. Why put yourself through that when you can do it yourself!
You already own most of the tools that you’ll use. A digital camera, a white sheet, some open space, and a few spotlight lamps are all you need to create some cute and timeless shots of your toddler or teenager. The only part people find intimidating is how to pose their child, but there are a few tips that will turn any amateur portrait photographer into a seasoned professional. In just one year, I went from an newbie photographer to a store manager for a popular digital chain using some of the tips below.
Tip #1: Always angle your subject or prop at a 45 degree angle from the camera. This always adds visual interest to any portrait and it’s such as easy thing to do.
Tip #2: Make sure your subject is not slouching. This can ruin any photo no matter how well it’s posed.
Tip #3: Create a fun environment for your child. Put on their favorite CD or make that funny noise that always gets a laugh. Sometimes candid shots are the best so don’t be afraid to click a photo while their just dancing around to their favorite song.
Tip #4: Take photographs from different perspectives. Have them lay on their back while you photograph from above or have them look over their shoulder at you while you stand on a stool. Avoid shots from below. They never work.
Tip #5: Your child does not always need to be sitting. Instead try taking a photo of them on their stomach with their arms propping up their head.
Tip #6: If you are working with a baby, a beanbag can be your best tool. Cover any beanbag in a white sheet and it can be used in many ways to prop up your child or as a cradle if they cannot yet hold up their head. If your baby can hold up their head, always have their arms crossed and tucked up underneath them otherwise their chin can hit the floor and cause a nasty bruise. For this reason make sure you have a posing partner when you photograph babies.
Tip #7: Add some fun props. Have them hug their favorite teddy bear or put on their fancy Easter hat with a string of pearls.
Tip #8: Take the show outside. Sometimes natural lighting and a large patch of green grass is the only setup you need for adorable and timeless portraits.
Tip #9: Try some dramatic lighting against some black fabric. You can get some beautiful profiles this way.
Tip #10: Don’t be afraid to take a lot of photographs to capture that one unforgettable moment!