Have you ever considered where your child is looking when you take a portrait photo? Doing so, and consciously changing your shot depending on the type of effect you are looking for can drastically change the mood and appeal of your photos. Here are a few types of kid’s portrait poses you’ll encounter and how they communicate to your viewer:
Kids’ Portraits: Looking Away
This is probably the easiest type of kids’ portrait, since kids are pretty much always never looking where you want them to. The trick is to capture images where they are gazing at something (or you could imagine they are) as this adds interest to the photo.
Secondly, you can choose to include the object of their gaze and make it a counterpoint to your image, or leave it as a mystery; we suggest trying both methods (or cropping later) to see which provides the most interesting photo.
Examples to try:
– Holding a prop (frog, ball, toy, etc.) and gazing at the prop in their hands
– Gazing out the window (experiment with different settings, weather outside)
– Staring out towards the horizon
– Looking at something else: a barn, building, car, dog, whatever captures their interest!
Kids’ Portraits: Gazing at the Camera
Close up portraits with your child gazing directly at the camera can create a compelling photo, one that’s impossible to resist. For this type of photo to work, you have to get perfect focus on the eyes, as that’s your focal point. You can try this type of photo with a centered subject, or use the rule of thirds to add more interest.
Now, depending on your child’s age this task may be easier said than done. You’ll have to employ a few tricks to get them to gaze right into the camera, and you’ll have to be ready when they do. It can help to have them get used to the camera, get them talking, establish a connection through the camera.
Kids’ Portraits: Who Knows?
We spend a lot of time and energy capturing kids’ portraits with them looking at the camera – but what about portraits where they’re walking away, or gazing out away from you? Because these photos aren’t the norm they are sometimes more compelling that traditional children’s portraits. So give it a try! In many cases, taking photos where you don’t know where your subject is gazing will be an easier shot to get than some of the other gazes, so when dealing with a difficult toddler (or teen) you can be certain that this style of shot will likely work out.
Playing with the gaze is a lot like other aspects of kid’s photography – sometimes you’ll love a new technique, sometimes you won’t. But first, you have to try!