Posing and Lighting Tips by Jamie Dalton Photography

When photographing children 6 and under, I shoot lifestyle portraits. I find that a local park, their playroom, art room, or backyard are the best places to capture these portraits. I shoot any time of day. I do love the golden hours of course. However, I started my journey as a photographer on Oahu in the rainforest. The cloud coverage would come and go, it would rain, and then be sunny from one minute to the next. I’ve learned to use the sun as my key light, and the reflector as my fill to obtain many different lighting scenarios such as loop, butterfly, split, rembrandt, but mostly I love flat lighting. A lot of people do not. The picture of my daughter in her track uniform is butterfly lighting. All I had to was place the reflector on the ground just barely out of the frame. It created nice catchlights, and a a shadow under her nose. It was extremely overcast with rain showers coming in, so it wasn’t the most perfect day to capture more intense catchlights in her eyes, but I think we made it work!

The family in pink was photographed at 11am on a very sunny day, with zero cloud coverage. I just placed them in open shade for this shot. There were other shots where I brought them out in the open and had my assistant adjust the reflector until it created loop lighting. The family in blue was taken during the golden hour, on an overcast day in between snow storms. It was actually quite cold, I had cotton balls in my ears because of the cold wind blowing.

As far as posing families, I use the traditional ways to pose them for now. I like to have them mirror each other, and be close. You can think of diamonds, L’s, V’s, S’, triangle’s, reverse triangles to shape the family. Always remember to have them at different heights. As far as hand placement, I will go over various ways to pose. Hands in the pocket, hands in the pocket with thumb out, or thumb in the pocket and the other fingers out. Place hand in back pocket, on the hip, grab onto your necklace, or your scarf. Or lock arms with your other half. The girl in yellow posing in the grass was bribed with $5 and a lolly pop! The picture where she’s listening to her baby brother’s heartbeat, I just asked her could she show me how that works? Could she hear the heartbeat? I find that if I let the kids play and be themselves, all I need to do is participate whether as a friend, their pretend customer, or by being silly with them – I can get some great shots! Towards the end of the lifestyle session is when I will atleast try to get one pose out of them for the parents & grandparents to hang on their wall.

Jamie Dalton Photography


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