Landscape photography and portrait photography are arguably the most popular genres. Yet, how often do you see the two combined?
The beauty and wonderment of a landscape lends itself to being the perfect backdrop for portraits of kids. They spend their time exploring and playing rather than fussing over being photographed, which gives you ample opportunities to capture the beauty of the surroundings and the whimsy of being a kid again - all at the same time!
To maximize the potential of your landscape portraits, follow these three easy suggestions.
Get on Their Level
When photographing kids, it’s paramount that you work the angles from which you shoot such that you portray them from their eye level. Just like when you photograph wildlife, photographing children such that you can see their eyes and give viewers the view of the world from the child’s perspective will make for a much more powerful image. This will require you to kneel down, sit, squat, or even lay on the ground. While that might not sound like the most comfortable of positions from which to shoot, the results will be better for it.
What’s more, a key to getting the best landscape shots is to find the best vantage points. All too often, landscape images are composed from an adult’s eye-level, so that’s all the more reason to drop down a couple of feet and compose your images from a child’s point of view.
Point Out Interesting Features
The best kind of photo of a kid is when they are deeply engaged and the photograph shows this thought or interaction with someone or something. A landscape is rife with things for kids to inspect, touch, smell, and play with, so it’s the perfect environment in which to capture a portrait of a child.
To facilitate these kinds of interactions, you’ll need to become a bit of a park ranger, if you will, and be ready to point out all the fun things that your child subject can interact with. From flowers to snails to bugs to animals, be on the lookout for the things in the landscape that can capture the child’s attention and hopefully produce a moment like the one in the photo above.
A fun spin on this is if you give the child an assignment, like helping you spot a particular animal or color of a flower. As they wander around the landscape looking up, looking down, or into the distance, you can capture some really sweet moments amidst a gorgeous landscape.
Keep It Short
Though the most gorgeous landscapes in your area might be an hour or two (or more) away, realize that a long car journey followed by a long photoshoot will not usually end well. Kids have short attention spans, and they certainly can get tired even after just a half hour or an hour of putting up with your photography demands. Naturally, some kids have a greater tolerance than others, but in general, keep your landscape portrait shoots short, sweet, and to the point, and you will have the best opportunity to get the kind of images that you want.
To help you keep things short, consider shooting during Golden Hour. Granted, this is a photography suggestion that is perhaps a bit cliche, but it nevertheless works. Not only do you have the best light of the day for your images, but you’re also forced to work with some purpose before you run out of light. This strategy works best in the late autumn, winter, and early spring when days are short and you can get that nice, Golden Hour lighting relatively early in the evening. That way you get the light you want, and you don’t have to deal with a kid that’s ready for bed!
There are plenty of other recommendations to be made for working with kids or working with landscapes. However, these three tips should get you well on your way to creating gorgeous landscape portraits that highlight both the landscape and the adorable nature of the kid you’re photographing.