A small child in Colorado. Sometimes (usually) my favorite shots are the unplanned ones.

We were filming a video course in a beautiful house somewhere outside of Boulder, Co. The course is on how to take better family photographs. The young girl (above) was one of our models and she was in one of the work rooms watching the make-up person apply the finishing touches to one of the adults. When I'm not in front of the camera on projects like this I like to roam around and shoot production shots in a more or less random fashion.

I walked into the room and found my small model standing next to a window so I got down on my knees and smiled and took a few shots. It was already a cold, wet, dark and rainy day so the light levels were low. I was using my Sony a99 and letting it run free on auto ISO. When I came across this file later I had a look at the exif info. The ISO was 5,000 to give me a very hand holdable 1/160th at f3.5 with my favorite, lightweight 85mm 2.8 lens.

We have plenty of images of the child smiling sweetly into the camera but I like this one best.

Minutes later our model was joined with a horde of other small models and they proceeded to illustrate exactly how futile the best plans of grown up photographers can be when confronted with 2, 3 and 4 year olds.... I had fun anyway.

Studio Portrait Lighting


  1. I hear you - lately, I have been photographing a lot of children this age. They are a hoot and a half to take pictures of, and parents love the results. The trick is to capture (for lack of a better word) their essence somehow. Posed grin into the camera pictures rarely do that. For my money, and the money of my customers too it would appear, those special caught them off guard photographs which are unposed, like this one, are where it is at. This one you took here is terrific :)

  2. It's almost always those happenstance moments that if we have a camera in hand "magic" happens.
    Oh, and did I say wow?! That just stops me in my tracks : )

  3. Beautiful picture, Kirk!

  4. That really is an outstanding portrait of a child, Kirk. I especially like the catchlights in her eyes.


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