Contemporary Children's Portrait Photography By Tamara Lackey

1 hr 57 min
Difficulty Difficulty Difficulty

This class is all about photographing kids! Tamara covers the technical side of working with natural light, reflectors, and her go-to gear, as well as the critical people skills needed to recognize personality types, handle tantrums, and roll with the range of moods your subjects will exhibit.

Video transcripts available with a subscription.

What is contemporary portrait photography? It is all about expression, spirit, and capturing something fresh and new while working within the rules of traditional photography.
You need to work with the mood of your subject to help them feel at ease and become more comfortable in front of the camera.
Once the subject has become more engaged and comfortable you can take the energy up a few notches, change wardrobe, and change locations.
There are three things to consider when getting ready for a portrait session.
An outdoor location can be a great place to start working with kids and building a rapport.
Working with siblings with different energy and interest levels can present challenges and opportunities in a portrait session.
While in an outdoor location you can take advantage of the sunlight as a backlighting source while using a reflector as fill light.
Keeping a set of posing ideas on hand can help inspire you to try new poses while on location.
If shooting in the subject's home there are a number of things you can do to increase natural light, scout the best angles, and remove unwanted visual clutter before you shoot.
With the home owner's permission you can adjust window light and furniture to create a better environment for the portrait session.
You don't want to end up with a series of the same composition with different backgrounds.
There are basically six different personality types that most kids will fit into when they show up for the photo session.
Profile photo of Tamara Lackey

Meet your instructor

Tamara Lackey


Tamara Lackey is a renowned portrait photographer and Nikon USA Ambassador whose lifestyle photography, from children’s portraits to celebrity portraits, has appeared in dozens of media outlets, including O - The Oprah Magazine, Men’s Journal, Vogue, Nikon World, The Martha Stewart Show and The Today Show. The recipient of the 2014 W...

Tamara's Courses


Join the Discussion
  1. Profile photo of Gstellini Gstellini

    Great class!! All Tamara’s courses are helpful and the way she explains make it easy to implement in my everyday shoots. Gian

  2. Profile photo of Alex Corbett Alex Corbett

    Learned so much, definitely worth watching!!!! Great Class

  3. Profile photo of Wendy M Wendy M

    Years of experience passed on in an afternoon of listening to these videos by Tamara. Excellent advice and training. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  4. Profile photo of

    I really enjoyed this course, loved the description of the different children at the end we can all relate to those in someway. Great amount of tips in dealing with children and fun as well the process. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  5. Profile photo of Juan Carlos Guzman Juan Carlos Guzman

    Very good tutorial! Now I have more knowledge about how to deal with kids. Very nice class!! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  6. Profile photo of

    I highly recommend! I ordered KelbyTraining (yesterday) partially because I was so excited to see training by Tamara added to the collection. My first course did not disappoint. Tamara is an excellent teacher and she tells you what she’s doing as she works through each scenario in the course. Her interaction with children is real and productive, plus her photography is technically and stylistically very impressive to me. As others have mentioned, I too, would love to see Tamara’s post production process. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  7. Profile photo of Seyed Abdol Hamid Payombarnia Seyed Abdol Hamid Payombarnia

    Thank you for sharing your useful experiences and knowledge. This course was great. I will use your guidelines and always think of you as one of my mentors at Kelby Training. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  8. Profile photo of Diane Schulman Diane Schulman

    Another great course by Tamara! I would love to see a course on her post processing! —- Yes, please post my feedback

  9. Profile photo of Amandacichowski Amandacichowski

    I wasn’t familiar with Tamara until I searched “family portraits” and after watching her video I realized its the most information I have remembered at once from Kelby Training. She captures your attention and only gives you information your’e going to use. There’s no fillers or 900 examples of something. I added it to my favorites and when I saw the next course I again pulled a lot of information from it. In her Contemporary children video she speaks about doing alot of beach photography.. Something I’m learning about by trial and error and to have her do an entire course would be FANTASTIC! I struggle with perfection and there’s no real good material or videos out there that I’ve come across! Scott and Team it would be an amazing thing to get her to give her secrets of beach photography success! As a growing photographer in a world of many, I’m determined to conquer the sun, the sand, and the glare! I live near Siesta Key FL (your backyard!) —- Yes, please post my feedback

  10. Profile photo of

    I really like Tamara, she brings so much to each of her classes, I really learned a lot. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  11. Profile photo of Blackstone Blackstone

    It was a great course, especially when it is my first one to watch about children’s portrait photography. A lot of different tips about how to become a better children’s portrait photographer and not least how to communicate, interact and play with different types of children. Really fun to watch and I must say I learned a lot from this course. Thanks for sharing your priceless knowledge about your portrait photography. —- Yes, please post my feedback

  12. Profile photo of rhuber rhuber

    Excellent course! Extremely well presented. I was looking forward to this one and it certainly did not disappoint. There were several references to post production throughout this course, I’m really hoping that Tamara does a course on her approaches to that as well. —- Yes, please post my feedback

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