On Taking Dramatic Portraits of Your Children

On Taking Dramatic Portraits of Your Children

Brigie's 7th birthday is just around the corner, and to my surprise, she has requested a Harry Potter themed birthday party. I was honestly shocked that she chose Harry Potter, but I'm pretty thrilled about it, of course, and I have some fun ideas for it that I can't wait to share! She makes the cutest and proudest little Hufflepuff I've ever seen.

(pictured above: Brigie's Hair Clips; Brigie's Hufflepuff Robe; photo backdrop)

One of my favorite things to do for my girls at their birthday is take some portraits of them. I love having some themed posters to hang up - it makes it extra fun, and when our house is done, I plan to have a collection of them framed to hang in their playroom.

The girls are actually pretty into it, too, which makes it fun, and I love having a few dedicated moments of just them, speaking some truth into their precious little heads about their beauty and what makes them so very unique and celebrating them all by themselves. It's pretty special to just exclaim over and over about them, and I know they are tucking in their hearts.

I got a lot of questions after sharing Vivi's portrait on how I do it, so here are some tips for this particular style of photo.

Vivi had a Nancy Drew party back in November, and I wanted to take a portrait of her that felt like an old oil painting, so that was the inspiration for the look, and it also works really great for the Hogwarts/Harry Potter style portrait for Brigette.

I found this amazing velvet backdrop and tacked it to the wall my favorite washi tape.

Here are some quick tips for getting a really great portrait:

(1) Accessories are everything. For Vivi and Brigie, I put some standout hair accessories in their hair, even though they don't always wear them. It really adds some fun detail to the picture. (Brigie's clips are here, and Vivi's headband is here). If you are working with boys, it would also be fun to have them wear a fun hat, or style their hair a little differently.

(2) Layer their clothes. Vivi is wearing a collared shirt under a cardigan, and Brigie is wearing her (Hufflepuff!) robe over a fuzzy white sweater. The layers give them a little more dimension and interest than just a simple shirt or dress.

(3) Have them sit in a chair that is interesting. Angle it slightly towards the camera (not straight on). I found it fun to have some vintage books in their lap; it kind of went with the look I was going for, and also presented a great place for their hands to rest.

(4) Give them specific instructions on how to sit. Do you remember having school portraits taken? The photographer would give such crazy instructions like "lift your chin a bit and move the top of your head to the left" or something like that, and it felt so unnatural, but it makes such a difference! Make sure your subject is sitting very straight, holding their head high, and take several shots, having them look just behind you, try a profile shot, have them be serious, and have them grin like crazy. Just be sure to consider their posture and the way their head is turned; it can literally make the portrait!

(5) Edit your photos. I love using A Color Story app on my phone- it's my favorite! I straighten and crop the photos as needed, and usually adjust the curves and contrast, too. For Brigie's portrait, I used the Golden filter pack with the Moonstone filter, which seemed to work spectacularly with her hair and coloring. See the below before and afters to see what it does to the pictures:

Harry Potter Birthday Party Ideas

Harry Potter Birthday Party Ideas

Hopefully that is helpful if you are wanting to do something similar! It's such a fun way to capture them at these ages! Can't wait to share her party here soon!!


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