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Capturing Authentic Children Portraits

Lesson 8 of 20

Working With Sibling Groups

Tamara Lackey

Capturing Authentic Children Portraits

Tamara Lackey

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Lesson Info

8. Working With Sibling Groups

Lesson Info

Working With Sibling Groups

What about sibling groups? What if you have a sibling group where some of them don't want to be there, some of them are superstars, and some of them are interactive? How are you handling that? In this situation, with this shoot, this was actually, I love this photo for a lot of reasons. There was a lot that went into this photo. One of the things, I'll just say, technically, I had to shoot in a way that I lit this and I shot down, and it was framed this way. So I'm actually on the ladder. I'm shooting down. I'm utilizing the live-view option to be able to see what I'm doing as I'm doing that. I'm posing them, because posing them is hard. Like normally, they just lay on a hammock like this. They're on a hammock. I've gotta think about things like the color and the toning around them. What am I bringing in? I'm in a backyard, I want those pillows, I want that blanket. Do you have something inside that's kind of maybe a burlappy sort of thing? I'm pulling them together, and then I'm makin...

g this curve, because just flat laying there, with their heads back, like you usually see on a hammock, is not working, it's not attractive. I said to you earlier, I love authenticity, I love real moments, and I also love beautiful flattering shots. I can do all of those things. In this case, it was fun, it was real, it was not flattering. So I had to pull in pillows and prop them in a certain way. I had to had them scooch around. And then lastly, back to what we're talking about, I then had to interact with all of them in a way that was befitting their personality. At the end of the day, it doesn't, this looks like a, it's a cute shot. You don't know how much work went into it unless you're a professional photographer. Then you're like, "Oh, you worked for that shot." In this case, I'm having this one, who's the baby, who's, in my experience with all those types I just told you about, she was more the one who needs to warm up. When I first got there, she was like hanging back behind Mom, and then I got her there. And so this one was the one, the superstar, the performer, the one who did everything you wanted them to do, and he was the interacting child. So as I'm getting there, I'm responding to them in all those ways I'm telling you about. But it's more rapid-fire, so I can get this shot. So with the sibling group, you're not treating them all as a one, you're responding to them all individually, and then photographing them as a one. It's a little more complexity, but if you do it all at the same time, you have these authentic expressions, no head swaps or composites in post. You're just getting it all right there by using these methods. And, when you've done everything you possibly can do, and the child who doesn't want to be there never comes around, what happens next? You let them leave. They take your toys and they go home. And you take a really fun shot of that. Hopefully that hardly ever ever happens. In my case, it actually never has, cause you're giving it the time, the methodology, the effort. You're thinking about all these things, and all the challenges that confell you. Is that a word, befell you, can befall you, that confell you. All the challenges that can take you down, are not the challenges they were because you're employing these methods.

Class Description

Each child is unique and needs different techniques to draw out the most authentic portrait. Acclaimed family photographer, Tamara Lackey, talks through how to quickly identify the characteristics of a child and the posing techniques and direction that can lead to a fun session with great results. She’ll cover:

  • The 6 basic personalities that children may show up to a photo shoot with
  • How to draw out a shy child in front of the camera
  • Tips for photographing the children who don’t want to be there
  • Gear and accessory considerations for family shoots
  • How to build to a natural pose

Have the confidence and the technique to capture an authentic child portrait in every session no matter client or their mood!



Tamara Lackey brings amazing energy to her teaching and shooting style. She shared a ton of tips and tricks for capturing the true character and personality of each child in both individual and group portraits. I have always found it to be particularly difficult to capture portraits of multiple children that are composed to be both visually interesting and true to their unique story. I learned so much about directing and communicating effectively with child subjects, and how to use my gear and other tools to streamline the process and keep it all fun for the family. No matter how much you think you know about photographing children, this class is an asset that you will not regret! Thank you Tamara Lackey!

Heidi Mikulecky

I love Tamara's tips for working with common personality types found in children. I also love that class allows you to be "fly on the wall" during her photo shoots. It's so helpful for me to see how other photographers engage their subjects (especially children). Tamara brings a ton of energy, excitement and playfulness to her shoots. It opened my eyes to how fun (and how exhausting) a photo shoot can be when you give it your all. Great class!

Sara NAomi

This was an amazing class. Photoshop has been a huge learning curve for me during the past year and it was so helpful to see the quick and easy way you used levels to bring down brightness/hotspots. I will definitely be using it to improve the "ear" on the portrait that you critiqued. Thank you soooooooooo very much Tamara and CL for providing such great content!