Today we look at creating portraits of kids on a white seamless studio background.
This technique isn’t new…. Quite the opposite in fact. However, with the current trend for photographers to only shoot on location, mostly outdoors. It amazes me just how beautiful, stylish and clean portraits of kids on a white seamless background can be. Seriously, a single portrait of a child, photographed against a white background makes for wonderful enlargement on most any wall. Little pieces of personal art, with the added bonus of being great images of your child at the same time… Win, win I think they call that.
The portrait of Joseph, above is a case in point. We could have used a number of backgrounds, even headed out into our studio garden. But Mum already had a number of portraits of her children on the wall and each had been created against a white seamless background…. So it was a no brainer to go with white. It was also fun for us as we hadn’t shot white for a few months. And looking at these images… Well let’s just say I have a few more ideas floating around.
This is one of those situation where having a large studio helps… A big shooting stage and heaps of quality light from high speed strobes makes for a much more successful portrait session.
What does your outdoor studio look like?
I’d love a dollar for each time we’re asked that question. And sadly there is no answer. Each day, each week is different. And it is big enough to keep changing locations within excitations studio gardens to suit the season, the type of photography we’re doing and what our client is looking for. So today and for the next couple of weeks I’ll post a few pictures… All taken in our outdoor studio. Different places and different moods, but all shot around our studio garden.
These two adventurous youg spirits were photographed searching for bugs in an old log. This part of the studio garden is more often used as a background. However, on this occasion, we positioned our explorers behind the log and waited for stuff to happen. Next week, if I remember, I’ll post some additional locations that you may not have seen before.
For us, one of the big advantages of working within the bounds of our very own outdoor studio, is knowing that the locations are unique to excitations. And our clients won’t see our locations or portrait styles hanging on friends walls. Unless of course their friends had family or individual portraits created by excitations. Even then there are so many variables that it is still unlikely.
Creating selective focus images for child portraits
I often say there are no hard an fixed rules for photographing young children. No matter how much we might want them to play by our rules. At days end it will be the child who has allowed us to create portraits that his or her parents are going to love. Sure it mightn’t be exactly what mum and dad had in mind. But it will be a set of portraits of their child. Mostly a true record of that period of time in that child’s development. Every time we go out to create a set of child portraits, we do so with eager anticipation.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen a mum get all frustrated with her child not performing. When in fact the images we’re capturing are beautiful. Maybe not just as mummy had wanted or visualised but beautiful memories that will forever record those special times during a little person growth to an adult.
The young man above is Pietro, from a photography session in Excitations outdoor studio a while back. As it turned out, Pietro wasn’t much of a problem for this shoot. We got lots of pictures of him doing all sorts of things that little boys like to do. This image worked well in colour, but I thought it felt better with a slight blue toned monochrome finish. A young man deep in thought. The only part of this image that is truly sharply focussed is Pietro’s left eye. Everything else in the photograph is soft and blurry. Lovely effect, but as a photographer you have to nail the focus point…. otherwise you have another trashcan candidate.
Creating baby photos with white backgrounds in a studio setting.
I’m not going to turn this into a tutorial on how to create baby photos with white backgrounds. Because in a fully functional studio like excitations barn style studio, any colour and shade of background is possible. Clean pure white backgrounds are one of the more difficult to consistently create. We’re lucky in that excitations have available a medium format digital camera system, which not only allows us to more easily create baby photos with white backgrounds.
The medium format system consistently out preforms normal DSLR cameras in creating clean whites which don’t bleed into the subjects. I know this because another photographer raved about the clarity and definition possible with medium format digital cameras when photographing against a pure white background. I still remember thinking what a lot of BS. My DSLR would be just as good…. Then we invested in a medium format digital camera system and as fate would have it. The first job we shot was a near white object against a pure white background. Wow! The difference was amazing. Now I see what he was talking about.
Our cool little man for this example of baby photos with white backgrounds is Michele. Gotta say he took all this photography stuff in his stride. This image I believe is enhanced by the pure white background, which lends a feeling of innocence to the image. While keeping all the attention on the main man.
I’m not suggesting that you can’t achieve beautiful white backgrounds in baby photos anywhere other than a fully equipped photography studio. You can. However, adding a medium format digital camera to the equation is a game changer. As they say on all those TV cooking shows. Taking it to the next level.