Capturing a headshot photo of a child can be a difficult process, but with the right tips and approach it is easy!
In this guide, we’ll be discussing kids headshot tips.
We’ll be covering the following topics (click on a bullet point to jump to that section):
What is a Kids Headshot Photo?
A kids headshot, also known as a child headshot is a professional portrait of a child for their public image, typically used by casting directors and talent agents.
Headshots are usually one of the first steps in an actor’s career, as they help represent the actor at auditions.
A kids headshot could also be used just to have as a nice family photo and not for professional reasons!
What Do I Need to Photograph a Kid Headshot?
You don’t need much to take a kid headshot, but it helps to have the following:
- A lot of patience and a fun environment for your little one, make sure they are well rested and fed.
- A solid backdrop that will not flop around or show background objects (make sure this is something that can be easily moved around after your child is done!)
- A couple of different outfits, including some comfortable clothes for your little one to get into makes them feel more relaxed.
- Good lighting, whether you are using natural light or a flash, make sure the light is even and not coming from behind your child’s head (this will create shadows around their face and the wrong expressions).
- A good camera and a photographer who knows how to adjust it for portrait shots.
12 Kids Headshot Photo Tips
Here are 12 tips to capture amazing child headshot photos:
1. Eliminate Distractions
Make sure your child’s background is free of any distractions.
Try to have a clean, solid color as a backdrop or shoot outside in an area with minimal objects around you.
This helps maintain the attention on the child and their face.
2. Uncomfortable Clothing
Have your child wear clothing that they are comfortable in and looks good on them!
If you plan on dressing them up a bit, make sure each piece complements the next and is not too tight or loose.
3. The Right Pose
Don’t pose your child in a way that isn’t natural to them, but if they are fidgeting too much find a pose that will keep them steady.
If they need something to hold onto or fidget with, find some small toys they can sit on their lap to keep them occupied.
4. Eye Contact
Have your child look directly at the camera and attempt to hold eye contact for as long as they can!
This is how you capture the personality of your child, which will make it easier to choose the perfect shot later on.
5. Fun Backgrounds
Try to have a small toy or two in the background to grab your child’s attention. This helps them feel more relaxed and less posed.
This tip really only applies if they are very young child, toddler, or baby!
6. Keep it Natural
Make sure you capture your child in their natural zone, allowing you to edit the photo afterward without ruining too much of the original shot.
To get them in a natural zone, try to ask them to act out their favorite game or tell you about something they are interested in.
Funny enough, this tip works when photographing adults as well. People light up when they start talking about what they like!
7. Avoid Heavy Makeup
Your child doesn’t need to look like a miniature adult.
If their eyebrows are too perfect and they have way too much makeup on it’s going to take away from their natural beauty.
8. Small Details
Don’t forget small details like the child’s hair and make-up (if applicable)!
Make sure their hair isn’t in their eyes, and if they aren’t wearing make-up make sure their skin looks smooth and even without blemishes or spots.
9. A Smile is Key
Have your child smile naturally when taking the photo, not making a duck face or forcing it.
You can even have them hold a small toy or eat some candy to get that winning smile!
10. Get the Right Angle
Take your photos from a few different angles and see which one looks most natural for your child, sometimes tilting their chin up a bit will give them a more mature look.
11. A Natural Pose
Pose your child in a way that looks natural, allowing them to feel relaxed and not posed.
If they are standing or sitting make sure their shoulders are down or facing slightly away from the camera.
12. Be Patient and Have Fun!
Make sure your child is having fun and knows that this photo shoot isn’t something to be scared of!
Try to make it a fun experience and let them bring along their favorite stuffed animal or small toy to help them feel less nervous.
Backgrounds for Kids Headshots
1. Solid Color
Use solid color backdrops for kids headshots, this helps maintain their attention on themselves rather than what is behind them.
2. Green Grass/White Backdrop
Try to use a green background for kids headshots, it goes well with most skin tones and does not show distractions too much.
White backdrops are also good if you’re photographing your child outside or in a natural setting.
3. Texture Wall
While this may limit your options of matching clothing, a textured wall is great for headshots as it doesn’t distract from the child and can give them a more edgy feel.
4. Outdoor Headshots
If you are going to take your kids headshot photos outside, try to do so early or late in the day as the lighting will be softer and more even.
5. Professional Headshots
If you are taking your child to a professional headshot photographer, make sure they know how to adjust their camera for portrait shots.
How to Find a Child Headshot Photographer?
You can always ask friends and family members for recommendations, but if you are looking for more options try searching in your search engine for “kids photographer [your city].”
Most professional headshots photographers have several photos of past kids they photographed on their website.
Most professional headshot photographers will also include information about themselves on their website so you know they are the right person you can trust.
Since they will be dealing with your child, make sure you take the time to vet them and always be on set with your child while they are getting their photograph taken.
Headshot Photography for Child Actors
If you are looking to have professional headshots taken of your child so they can start acting, make sure the photographer is familiar with taking photos of kids and knows how to properly position them.
You should also let the photographer know if you are hoping they will be able to capture any raw footage (videography) of your child so they can start getting their headshots out to talent scouts.
We hope you enjoyed this guide on capturing kids headshot photos.
This guide is also a part of our Headshot Photography Hub, so be sure to check that out for further headshot photography tips and insights.
Nate Torres is an entrepreneur, growth marketer, and photographer and writes mostly on those topics. Nate used to run his own professional photography business called Nate Joaquin Photography but has since focused on the marketing and business aspect of photography although he still enjoys taking photos. Nate enjoys learning about new digital marketing strategy and new ways to think creatively. He is also a photography speaker and author on Photofocus.com.