Children’s Portrait Guide

Our mission is to help you celebrate the precious stages of your child’s life through timeless photography that captures your child’s unique personality.  At Emerill Hamilton Photography, we approach each child’s photo session with deep understanding of the child’s mind – having toys, stuffed animals, smiles, and funny faces to coax your child into the perfect expressions of his/her personality. We capture them in natural stances that reflect their identities. 

Take advantage of pre-session consultation.

The pre-session consultation is so important to make sure you and your photographer are on the same page. Discuss expectations, especially how your child likes to interact, any shots that you want in particular and the feel you desire for your session and any props that you would like to include. This will ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible the day of your shoot.

Work around your child’s schedule.

As photographers, we all would like to have our sessions very early in the morning or at dusk when the lighting is best (if the session is held outdoors) but with young children, this isn’t possible a lot of times. As a parent, you know when your child is at his or her best.  Schedule your session when your child has had their nap for the day, been fed and happiest. This allows your child plenty of time to get comfortable.


The location should be determined based on the time of day you need your session to take place that will determine the best lighting situation for that time.  We have a few great suggestions for locations that work well, but we will be happy to hear your suggestions if you have a location that you would like to use for your session. 

Clothing, accessories, or personal items.

-Keep Outfits Simple - It's very common to struggle with this one... Wear clothes that you feel comfortable in.  RULE OF THUMB: If you like your child in a certain color or outfit, you will love the picture.  If the outfit is both bright with busy patterns; it can detract from the most important parts of the portrait -- your child's face and expression. To ensure your child is more prominent than the clothes, try outfits with solid colors or simple patterns.  Combinations of patterns can be fun too... like checkers, polka dots and stripes in complimentary colors. Layering clothing for boys is really stylish and adorable; add a hat to spice it up. Overalls with no shirt are still a favorite with most parents. Little girls look adorable with headbands and tutu's; try to hold off on the tutu until they are 6 months or older, then they can really show it off. Sandals, shoes, boots or barefoot? Play around and have fun; maybe let your child pick one outfit (shows their personality) and you get to pick the other. Think of the entire look that you are going for.

  • Baby Portraits: 
    • Bring care seat to help prop up your baby.
    • Bring a comforter, a sheepskin rug, or a flurry blanket for your infant to lie on.
    • Bring your baby’s favorite stuffed animals and toys for a personal touch.
  • Children’s Portraits:
    • Bring several changes of clothes that capture different aspects of your child’s personality. 
    • Bring your child’s favorite toys and stuffed animals.
    • Bring any musical instruments, sports equipment, or other props that involve your child’s favorite hobbies.
    • Bring flowers and/or balloons to liven up your child’s portrait.  Bubbles are almost always a winner, too.
    • Bring your child’s favorite music to help him or her relax and have fun.

Stay calm, have fun, and relax.

The purpose of our photo sessions is to relax and enjoy; so that, as the photographer can capture the natural expressions that represent your child in this particular time. Things will happen that are beyond our control, children can be spontaneous and those usually end up being the most compelling of photos.  Sit back and enjoy your child giggle and smile.  And if they don’t giggle and smile, enjoy watching your child respond; sometimes the best pictures are the ones that show your child’s expressions and personality coming out.  Children can tell when adults are anxious and nervous.  Make sure to be calm and relaxed about the portrait session, the children will feel the same. 

When you look back on your pictures, I want you to remember exactly how your child was at that moment in time, and I can guarantee that they will be treasured for years to come.