3 Ways to Make School Portraits More Artistic

Making portraits artistic can be a simple thing to do, as long as you know what to focus on. You don't have spend hundreds of dollars to capture some great school photos. Whether it's your child's first day of school, or you want to grab a few great candid shots to show their growth, there are plenty of ways to create artistic looking pictures that will be treasured for years.

1. Backgrounds

The background of a photo can tell just as much as the subject of a photo can. You want backgrounds that aren't going to distract from the subject, but will add and enhance the picture itself. Many SLR cameras can blur the background slightly, allowing the focal point to remain the child. This is helpful if there are a lot of other people in the background, or distracting greenery.  

A photo of a first day of school will be enhanced if you use the school as a background. A photo of your child waiting at the bus stop as the bus pulls in will also give an interesting background. If you want a more formal portrait, you can always choose to hang up a piece of cloth against a wall to create more of a professional look. Dark blue, gray or sand colors work best for this.

2. Posing

An artistic portrait doesn't always have to be planned and posed. While posing a child for a picture is fine, you can grab some great candids if you know their routine. You can capture a lot of the personality of the child if you capture photos during his daily routine. If you can get to the playground for recess, you can create great portraits with candids of them playing with friends. You can also take a few photos while they do their homework. A photo of a child working on school work can create a lasting memory. Taking this a step further and posing the child in their environment can also create some amazing photos.

Have your child pose on the swing-set or the jungle gym after school for a few photos. To make a more natural photo, have your child face the camera with his body turned at an angle slightly away from the camera. 

3. Know When to Use a Flash

Many people assume that flash is only used best in darker areas. Because of this misconception, many amateur photos end up with distracting shadows and bad lighting. A flash can be used in full sunlight to help eliminate some of these shadows. Using fill light (flash in daylight) will work best if your child is no more than 10 feet away. Going further than that won't create the same effect. If you are unsure about this technique, try taking a few photos with, and then a few photos without the flash. The photos taken with the flash will almost always turn out looking much better, and make for great portraits.

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