Two children hugging

5 Tips to help you get the best portraits of your kids

Here at Photos By Orion, we love working with children! They are so fun and spontaneous, and they can have such engaging smiles! But kids, like pets, have only a short amount of time and attention they are willing to give to a photographer, so here are a few tips for helping you get beautiful portraits of your child.

Baby portrait in the Photos By Orion studio

Being well rested and having a full tummy helps little ones create great photos.

 

  1. Have them well fed and rested 

No one does well in photos if they are hungry or tired, so the best time to do a photo session that will involve children is right after lunch and a nap. It is also best to keep the photo session short, so don’t plan on having your child involved for an entire hour. When we do photo shoots with small children (under the age of 5) they are regularly finished early so the child doesn’t have to be “on” for that whole time.

2) Bring a favorite toy

Often times a favorite toy or toys can make the process easier for a child. They feel safe when they have their “snuggy” with them or when they can see it, so bringing a few props like that can enhance the photo shoot. It is also important to remember that YOU are their most favorite, so helping your photographer out by standing right behind them to call out and play with your child can make a huge difference.

Child's portrait in the park in Salem, Oregon

The first photos tend to be the best when working with children

3) Location, location, location!

Choosing where to take photos is a very important decision. Some children do well indoors at a studio (especially the really young children as a studio can be more temperature controlled than an outdoor venue), while others need to be able to run. Whenever we are working with children I tend to recommend venues that are close to, or include, a playground. We use the park as an incentive to get through the “boring” first part of the session, which we try to limit to 30 minutes, and then get fun playing shots at the playground to round out the session and give the children a treat. During the really hot of the summer, three great parks we love to take clients with children are to Riverfront Park and West Bennett park in Salem, and to River Road park near Keizer because each of these parks not only has a playground, but it also has a splash pad where kids can cool off after all that work of looking cute (and it makes for great photo opportunities)!

Young boy plays at the park in Salem Oregon

Having somewhere fun to take photos can be a big hit!

4) Keep directions (and expectations) simple

Kids are good at following simple directions, so when it comes to posing them for photos, the simpler the directions they are given the better. For the photo on the left, all the direction we gave was to sit on the stool, look at the camera, and smile. He naturally posed himself into that adorable pose so we snapped fast and got that great shot. Children don’t always understand why we are getting photos, so to them, posing is weird! They get lost in multi-step directions like “sit up, put your hands here, your feet here, point your nose toward the camera, etc., and will forget to leave their bodies where we put them as they get each new direction. So with your kids, simpler is better. Letting them sit as they naturally do and then changing 1 or 2 things is the best way to get great photos and to set appropriate expectations for your portrait session.

 

5) Be relaxed and remember, this is fun!

Children will take their cues from their parents, so it is important for you to be relaxed and to have the attitude that this will be fun. I know that can be hard to get everyone dress and ready to go, but taking a moment to breath and re-center yourself you can help everyone to be in a better mood and therefore get better photos. These are your memories that will last well beyond your lifetime, but they are also a shared family experience. Whether that experience is good or bad is up to you. Getting family photos each year should be something that is fun for all, because having memories of each stage of your family’s life is so important!

The best weather conditions for portraits

My favorite weather conditions to take portraits in is when it’s cloudy. Can you believe it? Bright sun definitely makes for a boost in morale, but it’s really the days when it’s cloudy that I prefer to take portraits in.

Nadia Senior Photo

Why is that, you ask?

When it’s cloudy, the light is spread out better and colors are more even. If you’ve ever been in a photo studio, you might have noticed those large white screens. Those screens are small versions of clouds. Light is bounced around and reduces shadows, leaving your photos looking better. Fortunately for me, I primarily shoot in the Pacific Northwest where clouds abound. I feel very luck in this respect. I have even nicknamed Oregon the “land of diffuse light”. =-)7B4A0262

Don’t get me wrong about sunlight though. I love to shoot on the sunniest of days as well. Sometimes I’ll position you in the sun for shots, but on these kinds of days, I will usually have the light blocked with either a scrim or I will just position you in the shade.

So don’t worry about scheduling your outdoor photo shoot with me during the fall, winter or spring in the Pacific Northwest. I will keep tabs on the weather so that we can get great images for you!7B4A0961

Nadia Senior Photo

3 Things to Know Before Scheduling Your Spring Portraits

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Alexis and the Cherry Blossoms

Natural light is your friend

Have you ever had a photoshoot scheduled and it looks like it’s going to rain shortly before your outdoor-Oregon family photo session? Don’t worry too much about it, call your photographer up and see if they think it’ll still be a good time to take photos. If the weather is like many Spring days in Oregon are, there is likely a chance that that dull gray sky will actually enhance your photos. I like to think of those dull gray clouds as a gigantic light diffuser. Talk to your photographer to see if the weather will be good or not, you may be surprised.

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Danika in the Japanese Wisteria

Great foliage backdrops

Spring time is the best time to go out and capture family photos with excellent greenery and flowers. The grass is vibrant green and the flowers are usually plentiful and colorful. If you don’t have a special place in mind for your photoshoot, your photographer will. I have several places around the Willamette Valley that I enjoy taking clients to and I typically try to schedule photoshoots around the times when those flowers and trees look their best. A personal favorite are the Japanese Wisteria in Bush Park.

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The Davidsons in jackets

 

Clothing Choices

The weather in Oregon during the Spring is a time of change and your clothing choices should follow suit. =-) I recommend being prepared for both rain and sun. If you happen to have a new jacket, bring it along. It may go great with the background. Not every photoshoot needs to be formal.

Props

Sometimes, props can be great add-ons to a session. Here in Oregon, an umbrella may not get used in the rain, but it can make a great prop for photos! Giving it a little thought and grabbing a couple things that are special to you can take a good photo session to great in a flash.

 


From your photography team at Photos By Orion

Girl with guitar

Welcome to the new PBO and SYP blog

Hello world! Welcome to the new PBO and SYP blog. We are integrating both blogs in order to bring you more informative and inspiring posts! Over the next few months we will be converting our old posts to keep all those great posts you love, like copyrights vs. print rights, how to prepare for a family photo session, and great places to get photos around the Willamette Valley, as well as new posts on topics like “What rights do I have when I purchase a CD from my photographer” and more!

Please continue to enjoy all the articles we have to offer!

Girl with guitar

Portraits should reflect you and what you love!