Children’s Portrait Tips from Cheryl May!

There have been so many times I have been hanging out with people and they have asked for my advice on how to create a certain photographic look. So a portion of my blog is now going to be devoted to helping people get better photographs of their children and loved ones. I am so excited about this and hope that it helps all of you who love to take pictures but just haven’t had the chance to learn all the ins and outs of phtography! So here it goes….

First things first, it’s important to understand how to compose an image. There are certain rules that have been created in the visual world, but one thing to always remember, these rules are ment to be broken! Instead of seeing them as rules, think of them as guidelines :)!

The rule/guideline for this week is called the ‘rule of thirds’. This basically means you want to avoid placing your subject in the dead center of the photograph. Again, I’m not saying you can’t ever center your subject, but most of the time a photograph will be more successful if you place the subject or the person’s eyes just off of the center of the image. Here are a few examples:



If your were to split these images into thirds vertically each kid would fall in either the left third or the right thrid. Like the grid below shows:

The next time you’re photographing your adorable little one, as you look through your camera, imagine this grid in the frame and be sure to place your subect either to the left or the right.

In this image Grace fills the entire frame, but the image is successful because her face is placed in the right third of the frame.


This rule aslo works with verticle images. If you were to place the above grid over the image, the top horizontal line would line up roughly in the area that Ephraim’s eyes are placed. A successful portrait will position the eyes at the top third of the image.

Like I said earlier, this rule is more like a guidline and can be broken succesfully! Above is an example of just that. If you look closely, Jenna’s nose is directly in the center of the image! The rule has been broken here! What helps though is that her eyes are at the top third of the image.

As you practice this technique, you will get better and better at recognizing when to use this rule and when to break it.

I truly hope that this has been helpful! If you have any questions please email me at cheryl@cherylmay.com 🙂 God bless!!

  • Doug Miranda said:

    Oh my gosh flashbacks of days at Brooks. Rules are always made to broken in the photography world. Can''t wait for more lessons.

  • Vulcan said:

    Thank you for your tips! :)