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The Anatomy of My Signature Personality Portraits

Potentially the best thing to come out of COVID--my personality portraits! With lots of time on my hands, no actual clients on the calendar, and just my own two kiddos at the time-- I got lots of practice capturing genuine kid expressions and turning them into art worthy of a 20x30 frame and prime wall real estate in your clients homes. Bonus: YOU CAN HOST THESE ANYTIME OF YEAR! Hello, slow season cash bump - AND to make it easier for you, you can snag my Membership Blueprint and offer these as part of your slow season cash bump!

With hundreds of personality portrait sessions guiding me, I have nailed down how to capture that PERFECT image your clients will obsess over.


The most important ingredient in this recipe is capturing REAL expressions. Fake smiles/cheese faces ARE NOT THE VIBE for these sessions. I give kiddos prompts like "can I see your silliest/angriest face?!" and just keep the shutter rolling! Many times my favorite shots of kiddos happen in the "inbetween" moments where they are typically laughing at me (or themselves!)


While I love shooting wide-open, it is VERY difficult to maintain the tack sharp standard that makes a personality portrait WOW worthy with giggling & wiggling subjects. I usually shoot these at f4.0-5.6--just depending my lighting situation. Which leads me to...


As much as I love the soft glow of natural light, I have never been able to achieve the POP (aka contrast) I like with natural light for these. I use an Einstein kit from Paul C. Buff with a HUGE modifier to get those beautiful catch lights in the eyes of my tiny subjects. I still allow some natural light to filter and fill shadows--but it is not my primary light source.


These images practically beg to be edited in a very artsy B&W. I like HIGH contract with light brights and deep shadows. I achieve this mostly by playing in the Tone Curve panel in Lightroom. I always deliver clients both color and B&Ws because they both have a purpose! Grandparents love the color photos reminiscent of a school portrait and parents love the more high-end art look of the B&Ws.

I hope this helps you offer signature sessions like my personality portraits. They are a BIG client favorite and always an absolute joy to host. Happy Shooting!

All the Best,


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