Colour in Children’s portraiture; Behind the scenes


It’s been an exciting few weeks with the launch of my ‘Colour & Light’ Workshops and continuted growth of my mentoring business along with lots of family photo shoots in the bluebells and blossom. Last month I posted an image of my a young girl next to pink cherry blossom which generated  a lot of interest, so I thought it might be useful for me to write a blog about how and why I took the shot the way I did.


Pre-planning your colour palette


As with all my shoots, I spend time with my clients explaining what tones and colours will work best against the environmental backdrops we will be using on our shoot.  I knew that I wanted to take an image against the Cherry Blossom at our local park, and that the core colours in the background would be pinks and greens.

Therfore, I decided to dress my subject in neutrals but also add some metallic gold to add depth and warmth. Her outfit works in synergy with the background and adds to the feeling of Spring time – had she been dressed in dark or patterned clothing it would have changed the entire feel of the shot.

colour in childrens portraiture

Lens Choice 


I am often asked which lenses I use and why, and for more details you can visit my blog post here. For this shoot I wanted as much separation between the subject and background as possible, so I knew I would be using either my 70-200 or 135.  In the end I went with my Canon 135 2.0L so I could shoot at as low an aperture as possible. This is probably my favourite lens as its incredibly sharp and has a very creamy bokeh.


Canon photographer

Canon 135 2.0 L


“Canon 135 2.0L – my go to lens for outdoor children’s portraiture”


Shooting position 


As mentioned, the lens I chose to use helped to deliver the separation and bokeh I was after, but just as important was the relative position of my subject to the background. I took a number of test shots and the image below shows how the tree looked in reality. Had I photographed the subject right next to the tree, it would certainly not have had the impact I was hoping for.  One hurdle I had to overcome was the fact that the bottom of the tree had a very small number of branches so my solution was to stand her on a bench to get the height I was after.





The diagram below illustrates the shoot position and you can see I had approximately 10 metres between the subject and the background.


shooting position to create bokeh

” The distance between my subject and the background multiplies the effect of the bokeh from my lens”


 Finding beautiful light


The final consideration when taking this image was the light. As you can see it falling quite evenly and softly across the subject with no bright or dark spots. I used no additional light sources to create this image and I will be covering light in great depth on my Outdoor Portraiture courses. We will be discussing how to use environmental backdrops to create stunning colourful images, and also be covering the 4 main types of light which I look for when working outdoors.

I hope you found this post of use and don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter to be the first to hear of any new blog posts.

Thanks Nina