creative headshots

by Elena Blair

I will admit it. I love head shots of children. I enjoy getting close to kids to capture all the sweet details of their faces. My clients love it too, and I aim to capture head shots during all my shoots. In addition, ninety-five percent of the time, clients buy prints of the head shot images I provide.  When you hear the phrase “head shot,” your mind may conjure a boring, stiff image. Well I am here to show you how I approach head shots in children, and how I keep them creative and interesting!

Get intense eye contact.

I love honest images of children. I do not care if they smile, and instead focus on connection. I usually stand in front of them and squat or kneel down at their level. I chat with them about their little lives and allow them to know I am interested and compassionate. I will ask them a question like, “Can you see my eye in the camera?” or, “Do you see a butterfly in there?” This serves to hold their interest, encourages eye contact, and brings more natural expressions.

creative headshots photo

Show those killer lashes!

Children have incredible lashes, and I love to get photos of them looking down. I often just capture this while we are talking. When kiddos are shy, they often look down. I love the chance to capture this sincere emotion. However, if they are not shy, I ask them to tell me about their cool shoes, or point out something compelling on the ground.

creative headshots photo

Photograph from above.

I like to lie children and babies down on the ground and then I stand over them straddling them. They usually think this is funny and/or interesting so it often encourages a natural expression. I may have them sit on the ground as I stand above them.  I will make a noise or say, “hey, look at the monkey on my head!” which gets them to look directly up at me. I love that perspective!

creative headshots photo

Looking away.

Remember, they do not need to be looking at you. Some of my favorite head shots are of children or babies who are looking away, often at their Mommy or Daddy.

creative headshots photo

Encourage goofy expressions.

Kids love to be goofy. I will say, “okay silly time!” or “scream for me!” which often gets a great natural, yet silly face.  This can provide variety and offer a window into the true nature of an inherently playful subject.

creative headshots photo

Tummy head shots.

I often lie babies or toddlers on their bellies and then I also lie on my tummy right in front of them. I joke and laugh to encourage them to interact with me. This is a great way to get head shots of the little ones who are on the move or not quite old enough to sit.

creative headshots photo

There you have it! Head shots do not have to be boring. In fact, they are beautiful,fun, and can be an opportunity for some truly creative work!

creative headshots photoElena Blair, Washington
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Elena Blair is a custom portrait photographer in Seattle, WA. She specializes in newborn, maternity, baby, child, and family photography, however photographing her two small children are the  reason she became a photographer so capturing them is her first priority. He style has been described as natural, organic, and sentimental. She is a Canon girl, shooting with a 5D Mii and a couple of lenses. Elena is also a NICU nurse, but only very part time. She is very active in her kiddos cooperative preschools and enjoys spending the majority of her time with her family. She loves traveling, good wine, and good company.

Read all photography tutorials by Elena Blair.


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23 Responses to “creative headshots”

  1. Hanna
    May 03 2013 at 11:23 am #

    I love your tips…and your stunning work! Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Tina
    May 03 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    Great post!!!!!!!!!! Love your work and the expressions you always get. Thank you for the tips!

  3. Kim Peterson
    May 03 2013 at 12:38 pm #

    Such perfect tips!! Thank you for sharing your beautiful images and tips!

  4. May 03 2013 at 12:49 pm #

    No problem, gals! Always happy to help :)

  5. May 03 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    Great tips! I love these type of images too! So up close and personal. You can almost see their sweet little spirits in those catch lights!

  6. May 03 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    Great tips!!! I’m going to put these into action this weekend with my little one. :)

  7. May 03 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    I love these! Headshots of (MY) kids are pretty much the only kind of photos I like and it is SO hard especially with a three year old who is so tired of mommy’s camera. Thanks for the tips!

  8. May 03 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    Great tips, Elena! <3

  9. May 03 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    Awesome tips!!! Thank you!

  10. May 03 2013 at 6:05 pm #

    Love this, Elena! Gorgeous images and wonderful advice!

  11. May 03 2013 at 9:53 pm #

    Excellent tips…beautiful images! Can’t wait to try it out at my next shoot and on my own child!

  12. May 04 2013 at 3:22 am #

    Elena, beautiful images and I loved all your tips!! Thank you. :)

  13. Jeanie Shea
    May 04 2013 at 12:21 pm #

    Very nice. Thank you for sharing your tips. I too love head shots.

  14. May 05 2013 at 2:07 am #

    Absolutely love this post!

  15. May 05 2013 at 2:46 pm #

    These were all great tips and right to the point too! LOVE

  16. May 15 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    Great ideas – I like how simple and doable they all are! I would really like to try several of these.

    What sort of focal length did you use for the “lashes” and “from above” photos? Did you climb up on a chair or something to use a longer focal length – wouldn’t there be quite a lot of distortion otherwise?

  17. Jun 03 2013 at 10:48 am #

    Thanks for sharing your tips, Elena. Your work is fabulous.

  18. Jun 03 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    I always love the lashes shots. Usually in B&W (V moody).

  19. cynthia
    Jun 21 2013 at 1:53 pm #

    Solid advice, thank you :)

  20. Jul 11 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    These are all so gorgeous! I love it – can’t wait to get my new canon in the mail next week!

  21. Jan 07 2014 at 12:23 pm #

    Great tips, thank you for sharing. I may try a few of these with my little girl when I get home from work tonight.

  22. Mari
    May 20 2014 at 12:35 pm #

    Awesome tips!! Is there a certain lens that you would recommend for these children’s headshot?


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