Child Photography: Blueprint of a Successful Paint Session

Child Photography: Blueprint of a Successful Paint Session

I realize that my best sessions are always the ones where I truly have fun. Where I laugh as much (if not more) as the kids.

Being silly is part of my style, and it’s why I enjoy being a kids’ photographer. BUT it is very easy to loose track of your own style, and I sometimes find myself sliding down the slippery slope of average portrait shooting. So I launched my war to seriousness project. Every Wednesday on my blog, I post one or more silly pics. Anything dedicated to put a huge grin on my readers’ faces…It reminds them that life is not serious. Or at least, should not be.

This painting session if my favorite so far, and was part of this war to seriousness project. The concept is ridiculously simple, and the result was so much fun that I thought I’d share, in hope that my silly war could spread around the world :)

Here is the recipe :

  • Some used, ready-to-be teared out white seamless paper (or whatever light color you have on hand… white is not the only option here). You can use brand new one too, but this is a good opportunity to offer a happy ending to your faithful seamless before being thrown away…
  • Bright color painting (4 different colors should be fine) and a few brushes
  • 1 or 2 children ready for fun
  • Underwear or old clothes (they might not come out clean of the washing machine… so tell your clients to NOT bring their favorite children clothes!)
  • A space heater if the children paint in their undies
  • A bathroom !! (A bath or shower will obviously be much needed at the end of the session)

children's photography storyboard

I’m a natural light photographer, so my set-up was really simple : one large window in front of my seamless, and white walls everywhere to reflect as much light as possible on both sides (and result to this no shadow effect on the seamless). If you’re a studio photographer and know the perfect lighting set-up for this, please feel free to comment this post!

children's session storyboard

I swear that there is NO need to guiding your models here. I started the session by telling them that they were able to paint anywhere on the paper (floor included), and I got ONE question : “Am I allowed to paint on myself too?” I said “Sure!” and the fun started right away… The only drawback to this kind of session is that I got an unusual number of blurred pics due to camera shake… I was laughing too hard!!

children's session storyboard

My post-processing was really simple too (but that’s my style, it might not fit yours). Basic white balance adjustments to the Raw file in Lightroom, then import to PS, small curves bump to lighten the skin and background, and then my last finishing touch: MCP’s color finder brush from the Bag of Tricks (at 30% opacity, I only brushed the paint to make it pop, NOT the skin!)

children's session storyboard

Last but not least, I was so pleased by the result that I wanted to create a series of 10×20 storyboards for the boys’ room. I decided to give MCP’s Rounded Print it Board actions a try, and it was SO worth it ! Even though I was using this set of actions for the 1st time, I was able to create 6 different storyboards in less than half an hour (and that’s including me changing my mind a hundred times about which pic shoud go with another, and which background color I was going to use)…

Thank you so much Jodi, you truly are a time-saver!!

Lisa Tichané is a natural light children’s photographer in Marseille, France. She hates cheesy smiles and loves to capture children as they are: creative, silly, sweet, and mischievous! You can follow her work on the Tout Petit Pixel website, or on her blog and Facebook fan page!

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  1. 13


    Lisa, this session is definitely my favorite from you… I really want to try it someday with Marco. Thank you for sharing your tips and for the inspiration <3

  2. 15

    Gemma says

    I still think that with 3 boys, I’d be in BIG trouble, Lisa. 😉 Love that you are writing these types of articles now! You ROCK!!!!

  3. 16

    samantha says

    Love these photos! I would like to try an outdoor session. Just wondering what type of paint you recommend using?


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