Backdrops & More: 7 Tips for Standout Child Portraits

Written by Backdrop Express Photography Team on . Posted in Baby & Child Photography, Photography Tips

Backdrops & More: 7 Tips for Standout Child Portraits | Backdrop Express Photography Team

There are few things more delightful than artfully-done photographs of children. Successful child photography tugs at the heart and brings emotion to the viewer — a smile, a laugh, and sometimes even a tear. Child portrait photography requires some special considerations that set it apart. From child-friendly approaches and optimal techniques to the best photography backdrops for kids, what works for adults does not always work for children. These seven tips can help you create child portrait photography memories to be cherished for a lifetime:

1. Schedule for Early Morning or After Naptime

Whenever possible, try and book children’s photo shoots when they are freshest, such as in the morning or the late afternoon after their nap. These times of day are also conducive to the best natural lighting; when the angle of the sun is low, light quality is softer and shadows are not so harsh.

2. Have Patience

You already know that children tend to be active and not always open to instruction, so why not expect it and go with it? Have patience going into the shoot and follow their lead; enter into their world and build a connection with them so that they are comfortable in your presence. Smile a lot, talk to them and ask genuine questions. Then watch and be ready to snap those precious moments.

Pecan Seamless Backdrop PaperPhoto by Elizabeth Lee Millen Images

3. Choose the Best Backdrops

When it comes to photography backdrops, a heavy, bland “old master” style muslin will likely not be a fit when striving for a light, bright contemporary result. Young children are the perfect subjects for brightly colored, textured and patterned backdrops. Smaller child-sized sized backgrounds are also more inexpensive and perfect for baby and child photography. Sizes ranging from 5’ x 6’ and 5’ x 9’ on up to 10′ x 10’ can be perfect for capturing little ones in their element.
  • Burgundy Rose
A Burgundy Rose Fabric Backdrop is a beautiful textured background choice featuring a thick, rich taffeta rose look. It is not computer printed — it’s lush and organic, making it an ideal choice for newborn portraits. It is also the ideal size for newborns or small children. The soft and romantic style of Burgundy Rose will delight viewers while adding elegance to your child photography portraits.

Burgundy Rose Fabric BackdropPhoto by Bro’s Grafix Photography

  • Red/Black Swirl
A whimsical and “girly” Red/Black Swirl backdrop could be the ideal setting for all the young Princesses that come to your studio for portraits. It could also be great choice for a photo booth at a young girl’s party. The damask patterns of this backdrop are elegant and classy, perfect for any young lady who wants to play dress up for the day.

Red with Black Swirls Fabric BackdropPhoto by Amy Raney Photography

  • Black/White Circles
A fun yet modern Black/White Circles Fabric Backdrop is great for both boys and girls and offers a white taffeta style with velvet-look black circle detailing. You’ll sense the texture and dimension in the shot. Round, organic lines make it perfect for child photography and portrait photography. Its small size and light weight keeps it portable.

Black White Circles Fabric BackdropPhoto by Charleen Fotografie

  • Solid Color Muslins
Sometimes the understated elegance of solid color muslin photography backdrops is just what’s called for. The simplicity of a Candy Pink or a Lemon Cream backdrop will highlight your subject without overtaking the shot.

Candy Pink Fabric BackdropPhoto by Amy Raney Photography

4. Watch Foreground vs. Background

As a general rule, avoid shooting in environments that have clutter. While a favorite toy can act as an excellent prop, choose just one (not ten) and make it a part of a narrative within the shot. Always be sure that the child is the focal point. If shooting at a location such as a playground or park, try and choose an angle where the background is relatively clean. Use a long lens or zoom in to bring out the child from her surroundings.

5. Diffusing Light

If shooting inside the home, position the child near a window with her face toward it and with one side lit by the natural light. A translucent curtain can also help with diffusing the light and making it even softer. If in your studio, choose a light setup with a diffuser for a soft effect on children’s delicate skin.

Yellow Gold Fabric BackdropPhoto by Amy Raney Photography

6. Expression and Relationship

When shooting a child’s portrait, make sure the eyes are in focus. Try and stay at eye-level. If shooting at an angle, focus on the eye that is nearest the camera. Capturing emotion, expression and their relationship with parents or other kids will introduce a narrative and help to tell a story. Watch for those spontaneous smiles, funny faces, giggles and even when they start to cry.

7. Have Fun (and Take LOTS of Photos)

Lastly, remember that sometimes rules are meant to be broken. Have fun — follow the rules when they work, but look for alternatives, too. Whatever you do, take LOTS of pictures; in this digital age, there’s no reason you shouldn’t fill that photo card with shots. You can always delete what doesn’t work — and keep the gems that do.

Do you enjoy always using bright colored backdrops for young children, or occasionally going with a darker, neutral background?

-Backdrop Express Photography Team

Interested in reading more about child photography? Check out Portrait Photography: Working Well with Young Kids!

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