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Being Intentional about Portraiture

“The cobbler’s wife goes unshod.” Such is blog of the blog designer and the family portraits of the photographer. While I’m often snapping pics of my kids, I rarely intentionally set out to get their portraits. So I’ve decided to try and be intentional about photographing my kids’ portraits – not just snapshots of them at the Farmer’s Market or playing outside, but some of them individually. I decided to try and pick their birthday months to do it.

Then I realized 2 of their birthday months had already passed so I better get to work!

(All of these images were edited quickly with the Color Burst Action from MCP Actions. Click and done!)

trouble portraits photographing kids

trouble childhood portraits photographer

using urban as a photo prop

10-year-old portraits photography

10-year-old portraits

And I couldn’t resist grabbing a few of all the boys together. Who knew a fire hydrant could be such a useful tool? Giving boys something to hold on to to stay still – and do something with their hands – makes for a great photo prop. Serendipity!

my boybarians june 2010

my 3 boybarians photo shoot

my 3 boybarians photo shoot

Okay – so confess, when was the last time you had your kids photographed? How about YOU? When was the last time YOU were in a photo??


  1. I’m obnoxious about photographing my kids….but I’m terrible about PRINTING them for framing or scrapping. I haven’t been in pics on purpose since last summer…and it’s best that way!

    • ” I haven’t been in pics on purpose since last summer…and it’s best that way!”

      I have a blog post about this coming. 😉

  2. We had family portraits done in december. that was probably the last picture I was in. I do have TONS of my kids- like you do- playing outside, etc.

  3. I have more pics of my kids now that I have picked up the camera and learned to use it. I am having so much fun with it. I think my husband took a picture of me with the kids on Easter. That would be the last time. But I had Heidi at Mt Hope Chronicles take portraits of myself for my birthday last year. It was not only a blast to meet a semi local blog friend but a wonderful experience to have someone portray me as pretty. It made me feel good. I highly recommend it for moms who most of the time don’t have time to wash their face. Great boy shots! They are so cute.

    • You got to meet Heidi? She was one of the first blogs I saw and fell in love with – years ago. She is tried and true, the real deal in the blogosphere.

      That’s so cool that she’s semi-local!

      • She lives about 45 minutes from me. I drove up to her place and she took pictures and we talked for 3 hours. It was the best time ever. She is the real deal in person too, a lovely woman. Her kids are as adorable in person too. Have you seen the wedding pics she has posted recently? That is where my photos were taken too. It is such a beautiful place.

  4. I very rarely attempt portraits of my boys – at 2.5 and 4.5, it doesn’t go well when they know I’m taking their picture! As for me in a shot – pretty much never, of course!

  5. I realized the other day that it’s been a while since I did this with my kids. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂 And myself in pictures? Um. Well, I’ll just wait and read your post on that subject. I know it’ll be a good one.

    I really like how in the pictures you have with all your boys you can really see each of their individual personalities coming out. Great job on that.

  6. What a great spot! I love the urban backdrop.

    My son has just started to walk, so I finally feel like I can get a little more variety in his pictures. Looking at your beautiful images is inspiring me to head to the beach tomorrow morning.


  7. I keep looking at engagement photos and wedding photos and baby photos and wishing I could turn back the clock! (We’d look a little silly in the same poses at the ages we are now.) I would love to do anniversary photos with my husband this year. And for kids photos — we have only two years before my oldest is out of the house! I’d better get snapping. Wait, the Iowa weather. It sucks. OK, may be in Oct. I’ll schedule some time with each kid.

  8. Hmmmm. I haven’t taken actual portraits of the boys in a while and the fam is starting to mob me for some. 😉 I’ll have to get on the stick!

    As for my picture being taken…umm, I tried to take some headshots of myself the other day and it was so awkward (post on Monday about it)! I’m not happy when I’m having my picture taken, but the Hubs and my Dad keep encouraging me to do it for the boys.

    Oh, your boybarians are growing up so fast! Their little faces have changed…they are all so handsome, Darcy! Great idea with the fire hydrant, by the way….

  9. Great shots, love the diffused quality of light. What lens, and what aperture? Would love to see your ISO / SS / Aperture info from these shots. Come on you don’t have anything else going on, do ya? 😉

    • These were shot with a prime 85mm f/1.8 with an ISO of 160 (low .7 on a Nikon) and aperture of f/2.2. Custom white balance using the Expo Disk. Speeds at the brick wall were between 1/160 and 1/200. I never go below 1/125 shooting kids. The lower ones with the wood wall are soft at 100% and they were shot at 1/125th. I needed to go faster – those wouldn’t print well above 8×10.

      It had been raining all day and the rain stopped just long enough to shoot some pics. It was a perfectly grayish, overcast setting. (My fav for portraits!) The bricks and ground were wet which made a pretty purple in the brick instead of red – which is easy to blow out on the red channel. If you can ever hose down brick before a shoot, the images look better, I think.

      I had the exposure set at +.33 because I was going for a high-key, bright, slightly over-exposed look. For the most part, I’m pleased with the results, but the white channel is blown out on a few of them. But with my own kids, I tend to be too lazy to pull them all into Photoshop and work on them, so I take more risks in-camera.

      In retrospect, I probably should have shot for the meter and brightened in post, but since they’re my own kids, I can afford to play and not upset any clients. 🙂

  10. Try photographing a camera shy 19 year…..doesn’t make for pics suitable for Grandma to see sometimes!

    As for me……there is a reason that I am behind the camera….

  11. I have a lot of portraits of the boys because they are such good models! My sisters? Me? My parents? Zip. Zero. Nada. Nope. I need to work on being more intentional about getting good portraits of them and getting in the pictures, for crying out loud! lol

  12. I love photographing Schuyler, my son. My latest (3 years) now is ski racing photography and i finally bought an 11×14 of him and love it! I love the photo challenges to feature photos of him, but now he is pretty sick of being photographed. I love to be in photos too — I guess I am special. 🙂 I have a great husband that loves to take my photo too. 🙂

    Thanks for Sweet Shot Tuesday — I will be doing something tomorrow!


  13. I try to photograph my kids constantly. They are not fans of that. 🙂 I am NEVER in front of the camera, because I am always behind it. I am a little afraid, a little sad, that there are no pictures of me and that the kids (when they are grown) will not really remember me as their mom. But then, when there ARE pictures of me, I hate the way I look! I would really like some nice pics of me, though, someday.

  14. These are great 🙂

    I can’t wait until I have kids so that I CAN photograph them!

  15. Wow, your pictures are beautiful ! Great portraits. I was saving this post for when I had more time to read it, I’m glad I didn’t skip it.