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Photographing children can be joyful and challenging all at once. Their natural state is to be in constant movement, make silly faces or have short attention spans. It can be frustrating to get not only your own child to cooperate but gaining the trust of a client’s little one can be even more daunting. These tips will help you take some wonderful Spring portraits this season.

Giving Direction

Keep Their Attention

Talk to them, ask them questions, keep them engaged. Get on their level not just physically but mentally as well! A child’s natural state is joy, so smile and get playful with them. Since having them sit still for a long time will be difficult allow them to move around and capture some spur of the moment action shots.

See More: 10 Kid Portrait Posing Tips 

Let Them Be Themselves

Kids love having fun and being goofy so let them do a few funny faces. In fact if you participate in the antics, you can catch them laughing which will give you more natural expressions. It will also make the portrait session more fun for the kids.  

Make the Short Attention Span Work for You

When the child needs a break, use the downtime wisely to change your lens or make adjustments to your set up such as propping, lighting or location. It will help ease any tension and make the whole shoot run smoother.

How to Capture Beautiful Children's Spring Portraits

Give Them Props

Giving kids something to hold, interact, and even play with will keep their attention for a longer amount of time. Stuffed animals, flowers, ice cream and even bubbles, are perfect objects to have on hand. These kinds of props also can also emphasize the tone of Spring season. There’s something special about that first ice cream cone of the season along with the big messy faces that come with it. Even bugs and bare feet in the green grass all give the feeling that Spring has sprung.

Keeping the Shoot Moving

Shoot Fast and Often

The more often you shoot and the more frames you can capture will increase your chances of getting that winning shot. Children move fast, which means you need to move fast too. If your camera has a continuous shot mode (which most SLRs do), use it. You will be thankful that your camera has that setting when all is said and done.

Location and Timing

Springtime offers numerous opportunities for some keepsake portraits. Easter, Passover and Mother’s Day will find family gatherings and colorful settings the perfect time to photograph young ones with family members they may not see that often.

Spring can also bring lots of rain and wind but don’t let it deter you from completing the shoot. Embracing seasonal showers can give you some of the best images ever. Rain boots and a puddle of water can work magic. Even try setting up a kite on a windy day and let them run wild for some engaging action shots.

If you are working in a studio and have back-to-back sessions scheduled, you don’t really have the option of taking many breaks. In this case, try dividing up the session with several pre-planned poses to keep on schedule. And, be sure to convey the Spring feeling with seamless paper backdrops in seasonal hues such as Tulip, Orchid and Mint Green.

How to Capture Beautiful Children's Spring PortraitsPhoto Courtesy of Bouncing Light Photography, Featuring: Tulip Seamless Paper

Choosing Camera Settings 

Make sure you have your exposure settings figured out before you start shooting. First have the camera set to the action mode (this will ensure that the shutter speeds will be fast). Don’t be afraid to manually increase the ISO on the camera to make the shutter speed faster. All of this will help you capture fast movements so you won’t have to risk of unwanted blurring. A wide aperture will also help and limit the depth of field, thus eliminating any distractions in the background.   The most important part of getting great Spring portraits of children is to make sure you and the child are having fun. If you are relaxed, have the lighting and camera settings ready to go and bring a cache of creative props, you can focus on the child and create some memorable imagery.


Cheryl Woods

Cheryl Woods is an accomplished photographer, designer and branding consultant with a career spanning 20+ years. Her photographic work includes editorial, fashion, portraiture and product photography for major companies in the consumer products field including QVC and Hanover Direct. She received a B.F.A. in Photography from the University of the Arts and an M.F.A. in Media Design from Full Sail University. Cheryl's work has been exhibited at the Lowes Museum of Art in Coral Gables, FL, The New York Independent Film Festival and the Rosenwald Wolf Gallery in Philadelphia, PA. Check out her website here!


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