What separates good kids’ portraits from great ones? Sometimes, it’s just a matter of considering the environment and choosing to exclude it, particularly if the surroundings have no bearing on the photo.
Include Background in Kids’ Portraits?
How to Decide Whether to Get Close
It’s always best to try to get your kids’ portrait right in camera if possible, rather than hoping that you can get it right later by cropping or using editing software. That doesn’t mean that you should zoom in on every single photo – try a few portraits of your children that include surroundings, and then a few where you “fill the frame” with their beautiful faces.
Other Tips for Getting in Close
This technique works well with single-child portraits, multiple people or groups, even pets. It’s also a common technique with food photography – you want to see the food, not what’s around the food! By filling the frame with your subject you are ensuring that everyone knows what the focal point of your image is, rather than having them lost in a busy background.
Exercise: The next time you are in a busy location (park, school, shopping center, etc.) try taking a few kids’ portraits where it’s just them, then pull back and include the surroundings. Check out the difference – which one do you think is a better photo?
Final tip – just because you are “getting close” in kids’ portraits doesn’t mean that you put them smack in the center of the frame (at least not every single time), you still want to use the other composition rules (particularly the rule of thirds) to place them in the frame and create an interesting image. It may take a bit of practice, but you’ll end up with really great photos as a result.