Tips for Great Portraits for Children

Birthdays, holidays, starting a new grade, recitals – there are many reasons to take the kids for professional portraits. Follow these tips for the best portraits possible. 

  • Pick a studio with well trained, experienced photographers.
  • Make an appointment during your children’s best time of day. Be sure they are well fed, awake and have clean diapers.
  • Choose a studio with a reputation for staying on schedule. If your appointment runs very late and your kids are cranky and uncooperative, reschedule.
  • Do not rush through the session. Take time to make sure the children are well groomed and their clothing is on straight. Also take your time coaxing those smiles.
  • If your child does not take well to the photographer, step in, request a different photographer, or reschedule. Not every photographer ‘clicks’ with every child.
  • Bring your own props to personalize the photos. A favorite toy or stuffed animal can make for a memorable portrait. Toys that match a theme – such as Blue’s Clues toys for a birthday photo where Blue’s Clues was the party theme, or trains for Christmas photos can really liven things up.
  • Limit clothing changes to 1 or 2 outfits. More than that makes for a cranky child.
  • Be sure to inform the studio that you are planning an outfit change when scheduling your appointment.
  • If your child is wearing an outfit with printed material, it’s best to choose a solid background. Solid outfits lend themselves to print backgrounds.
  • For family portraits, pick clothing for all family members in the same color family. Stay away from prints if possible. Never wear loud prints – they are very distracting.
  • For large groups, ask if the camera can be repositioned before making your appointment. If your group has more than 4 subjects, it is important to be able to change the camera angle to accommodate everyone.
  • If your studio has a digital monitor reject the photos that are not perfect. Many studios can store the photos to go back over after the session. Don’t settle for ‘okay’ portraits. Keep in mind that the camera picks up more than the monitor actually shows.
  • When your photos arrive feel free to reject any pictures that are off center. If the subject is not centered properly, the photo will not frame correctly. Also reject photos where the color is off, someone blinks, the edges of the background are visible, lighting fixtures are exposed, or are otherwise imperfect. Do not feel obligated to pay for something that does not fit your needs.
  • If the pictures are unusable and you paid a sitting fee, be sure to request a refund or a retake. If the photos are off center, you may wish to ask to keep the wallets instead of a refund of the sitting fee. Wallets can be used even if the subject is not centered, and the studio will be throwing them away anyhow.

Please make sure to visit the 20ish Parents website for more great parenting advice!

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