Kids Photography: What Makes it Work?

I was approached this week by an acquaintance to take her family pictures. I got really excited, because other than a senior shoot, I haven’t done much paid photography. This caused me to want to do some research and get inspiration from other photographers of how to take great family and kids photos. As well, I finally got around to editing my friend’s baby pictures (pictured above), so that got me driven to do some research and get more inspiration. I wanted to see what makes pictures I love seeing, successful. I came across these three kids photography sites: Paul Doumit, Andrea Carlyle, and Stairstep Kids. From these three sites I have noticed three successful photography techniques that I think work well with kids photography (and that worked well on me). They are:

1. Kids with colorful props.
2. Kids with colorful outfits and accessories.
3. Up close images of a head shot.

Paul Doumit mostly utilizes the colorful props and settings approach. He either has a bright background with calm outfit colors, or bright outfit colors with a calm background. Somehow, a child’s bright face + colors (and of course, good lighting) = a great photograph.

Andrea, on the other hand, uses natural light and backgrounds (outdoor areas and grassy fields). To brighten up her pictures, she has the kids use a colorful prop. The photographs that I came across had a 3-year-old child walking in a field in his denim overalls, holding a huge swirly lollipop. The image totally worked, because with the awesome and natural background, was again a child’s bright face and a colorful something.

And lastly, I observed the Stairstep Kids Photography by Alexandra. Alexandra used an interesting technique of limiting herself to natural light, natural element, and a zoomed-in view. If you look through her work, you will notice that, compared to the other photographers, her photos have a much more close up image of the childs face; this makes it unnecessary to use props or backgrounds, because the colorful parts of the image become the big blue eyes, blond curly hair, and bright pink smile.

I have always casually studied wedding photography more, because I’ve been in that industry, so researching Kids photography styles has been an interesting experience; never before have I stopped to wonder what goes into making that type of photography successful — I just thought that kids are adorable and that’s what makes Kids images look so great, so simply. And that is true. But what can always help are good props, colorful backgrounds, and if all else fails, a close up shot of a bright smile will always do the trick!


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