Child photography requires patience, intuition and an eye for expression and relationship. Insights about color palette, composition and portrait photography are key, and lighting, props and backdrop choices are important as well. However, one of the most fun and creative dimensions of child portrait photography is selecting a theme for the shoot and bringing it to life. These 9 child portrait photography theme ideas are all ripe with inspiration and potential:
1. Birthday PhotosNothing says child photography like birthday photos; from the very first birthday on up to the 18th, your child’s birthdays offer a compelling and memorable photography theme. Traditional birthday decorations like balloons, streamers, presents and party hats can help to accent each frame of birthday photos. Experiment with blowing bubbles, spraying silly string and catching your child in action playing party games. A fun patterned backdrop is a must, and this polka dot printed backdrop pictured is a perfect solution!
2. The Cake Smash“Cake Smash” photos seem to be all the rage for babies and toddlers. You can try it at home, too:
- Pick up an affordable small cake or cupcake from a discount bakery. Go for chocolate cake with lots of white icing. (You can experiment with other types of cake and colors of icing, but avoid red.) Pick up some rainbow-colored sprinkles as well.
- Prep your studio/photo shoot area and formulate a cleanup plan. You’ll probably have to give the little one a full bath afterward! A seamless paper backdrop is the most popular and easiest backdrop to use, as you can easily cut off the very messy, used section once the shoot is over, and you don’t need to worry about any scrubbing or time-consuming clean up!
- Put the cake in front of your little one and let the mayhem (and fun) begin! Allow your baby to discover the cake on her own; photograph every moment and detail along the way. Get some close-up shots of a little fistful of frosting or where colored sprinkles got in her hair. If all else fails, be more interactive — playfully smear the icing and cake, then encourage your child to do the same.
3. Angels, Fairies and PrincessesDressing your little girl up to be an angel, a fairy or a princess can bring a variety of precious moments and priceless photos. Dress her up in a princess costume featuring a flowing gown, pointed Princess hat or tiara, costume jewelry and maybe even a Princess scepter. A fairy theme allows for added fantasy elements such as fairy wings, wands and fantasy-themed props. Angel wings, halos and plenty of white fluffy tulle draped around can create a heavenly setting. Use “girly”-colored backdrops in pink, purple, teal, otherworldly scenery or other light pastel patterns and styles.
4. Cartoon Characters and SuperheroesWhat little boy doesn’t want to play a superhero or his favorite cartoon character? Some little girls will love to get into the act as well. From the latest comic book and cartoon figures in the movies to classics like Superman, Spiderman and Batman, costumes for your child’s favorite characters make for an adorable child photography theme. Use a bright, bold backdrop in the shot — Royal Blue can complement just about any superhero scene.
5. Playing Dress UpAllowing kids to play dress up with Mom and Dad’s clothes can lead to child photography gold. Bring a chest full of clothing, shoes and accessories to the shoot and let the kids pick out what they want to try on. Capture the dress-up process as well as the final results. A cut, classic damask or tufted backdrop can be the perfect accent for the dress up theme.
The Holidays are also ripe with inspiration for child photography themes:
6. ChristmasChristmas brings with it a wealth of festive props, accessories and backdrop possibilities for your child photos. A Christmas tree, stockings, ornaments, a Santa hat, sled, an elf costume and garland are just a few of the possible accents you can use. A Christmas Sled backdrop or a Holiday Red style can help to create the perfect setting for your shots.
Photo by Modern Studios Photography
7. EasterWith spring flowers and green grass blooming, shooting outdoors during the Easter season can make for an adorable, memorable photography theme. Accent your shots with cute Easter outfits, Easter baskets, sunflowers, colored Easter eggs, a sun hat and some shiny new shoes. For indoor shots, try a Peach/Yellow Chevron backdrop or other soft pastel child’s style. Consider pairing your backdrop with a Rum Oak Floor Drop to give added dimension to your shots.
8. Valentine’s DayValentine’s Day is a season and holiday that’s overflowing with heart-themed props, roses, chocolates and lots of pinks and deep reds. What better theme for child photography than the theme of love? Experiment with a variety of heart-themed props. Consider using a Red/Pink Chevron backdrop or other pink, red, burgundy or maroon style. Buy an inexpensive chalk board that you can write romantic phrases on and stick it front and center, or have your child model hold it.
9. AnimalsWhat’s a cuter way to dress up your child than with a furry mouse or buzzing bumblebee theme? Use a backdrop that complements the color of the animal, and be sure to incorporate lots of fun props like hats with ears, tails, painted noses and maybe some rustic, outdoor baskets and leaves.
What’s a fun theme you’ve tried out for young child portraits?
-Backdrop Express Photography Team
Interested in reading more about child photography? Check out 7 Tips for Standout Child Portraits!
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