I’ve always been inspired by those funny or sentimental photos you see of parent and child such as this beautiful set of a father and his daughter or these fun ones of a father capturing his daughter’s personalities.
With Father’s Day coming up, I thought it’d be fun to do a series of father and son photos featuring my two favorite little guys. I’ll walk you through how to set up the photos, choose locations, how to make them personal to you, and provide 15+ posing options.
I hope these inspire you to take some amazing Father’s Day photos of your own and make them fun, memorable, touching and happy!
P.S. I happen to be a professional family photographer, but I really think these tips will help anyone with a camera (even a phone one) capture great photos. Don’t worry about not having a fancy camera.
Also, these are photos of a father and son, but I think they’d look just as endearing with a father and daughter.
Okay, ready to get started? First, meet my good-spirited husband, Tim and feisty 3 year old boy, Kian.
Think of what you want to accomplish. In this set, we want to capture a fun collage of father and son photos doing the same thing. So of course it make sense to have them wear the same outfit. Believe it or not, my husband and son happened to already have these clothes in their closet, but apparel places like Old Navy, Gap or J.Crew all have basics for little ones and adults that can easily be matched up.
Next step is to map out locations where you want to take these photos. For the most interesting backdrops, think of at least 3. We chose 4: home, nature, playground, main street.
For each location, think of a few things that father and son can do together. Make them meaningful to your family. For example, my son and husband love books so I captured a scene of them reading. My son also loves the playground so we have some swing and slide shots. Both dad and son can’t live without ice cream so of course we had to get some (this was also a nice “reward” to end the session, so we saved that for last).
Keep the order of locations in mind based on when your child will best respond to taking the photos. We want to minimize meltdowns, especially if they’re little.
Okay so you’ve outlined where you want to take the photos and what scenes you want to capture per location. Let me walk you through our session with specific posing techniques you can use for your own photos, regardless of location.
Pose #1: Read a book together. Things to watch for: clear all clutter off the table and in the room, make sure the books are up the same direction and subjects are reading at the same time.
Pose #2: It’s hard to admit, but my husband and son love the iPad too, so they voted on this shot. Keep in mind placement of hands. You want to make sure the hands and fingers are similarly placed for each subject to capture the same motion.
Pose #3: Shooting faces up from above is one of my favorite ways to capture a scene. Ask them to lay down on the carpet or floor (make sure no clutter is placed around) and shoot down.
Remember to capture serious moments as this one above, or cute ones (example way at top) or similar movement (below with hands up).
A wide, open rustic area such as a park or hiking area is a great place to take photos, with lots of posing options as you’ll see below. Tip: always photograph with the sun facing behind the subject for a beautiful backlit glow. The best time is when the sun isn’t so high in the sky but dipping down in the late afternoon.
Pose #4: this one’s pretty straightforward, have father and son hold hands and face straight to the camera.
Pose #5: Same pose, but now ask subjects to face away from each other.
Pose #6: Back to back is a cute one for parent and child. Position subjects this way and have them look up (like above example) or straight at camera of straight ahead of them for other posing options.
Pose #7: Hold hands and look at each other.
Pose #8: This is a classic shot. Have parent swing child up in the air. Here’s the trick though, ask child to face you so you can see his reaction.
Pose #9: Back to back against a log (or bench or anywhere that’s elongated for sitting). Ask subjects to stare ahead (as shown) or look at camera and smile for more posing options.
Pose #10: The “jumping” shot. Yes this can be a bit cheesy and overplayed but when it’s an almost 40 year old man and 3 year old boy, it becomes comical (in a good way!). Find a safe spot for your child to jump with dad. As you can tell, we’re just inches off the ground here 🙂
Pose #11: You want to combine funny with touching and more serious photos for a great collection of images. This is a classic one to capture, backs of the subjects, sitting down.
Pose #12: I call this the “walking off into the sunset” shot. It’s a great one for capturing that sentimental feeling.
Heading to the playground as one of your location options has multiple benefits: 1) it’s fun for kids and by this time, they might need a break from the more staged photos; 2) it’s great for taking action shots!
Pose 13: Swing time! As we continue down our mini-me photo session, we of course have to capture dad and son on the swing. Tip: make sure no kids are around to keep shot as clean as possible or wait to go until playground isn’t congested. A good time is usually early evening before the sun goes down.
Pose #14: The slide is another great shot with lots of momentum and action. Ask your subjects to do it several times (kids won’t object) and capture different scenes; at the top, going down, at the bottom.
This was the last of our locations. With lots of nature and outdoor images under our belt, we wanted to end with a “city” type of feel. Keep in mind you don’t need to actually venture to the “city.” We just picked a close by avenue of little shops and restaurants, about 10 minutes from home.
Pose #15: The windowpane shot. Head inside for a drink or snack to your favorite coffee shop, bakery or cafe. The key is to get an image of the subjects from outside the window pane, so make sure the cafe has a nice open window. You are outside taking the photo.
Pose #16: Finally, it’s a wrap! The last pose is to capture father and son eating the same thing in the exact same way. Of course it was ice cream! Ask subjects to face each other holding the food, look at the camera or bite down at the same time.
Some final things to remember:
– Always keep it fun for the child. Incorporate things they’ll enjoy doing along the way and break it up so they have something to look forward to.
– Attire is key! Make sure you coordinate outfits well together between parent and child.
– Do the session at a time your child is in the best mood. As soon as my son go up from his afternoon nap is when we headed out. Bring a snack or two along the way.
– Pick at least 2 locations (not far from each other) for a change of scenery.
– Capture a mix of touching, funny, action-oriented, comical and cute shots for a varied collection of images.
A huge thank you to my two favorite guys in the world for being such great sports. Now I have my Father’s Day present all worked out. Speaking of which, once you’re done, these would make great prints or photo collages for a gift dad will love.
I hope these tips and tricks inspire you to take amazing Father’s Day photos!
What are some fun ways you’ll be celebrating Father’s Day this year?