Taking Photos

Behind the Camera

First, don’t just settle for the camera phone. If it’s all you have, we can work with it (see below). But, when available, the trusty point and shoot digital camera will deliver a far superior image. If you happen to have a DSLR even better.

If you’re not a trained photographer, that’s okay! Trust the automatic modes, but make sure you have sufficient light, to limit the flash needs. We can take any image and turn it into a masterpiece of imagination. The higher the resolution and crisper the image, the better the final portrait. Inspect your camera’s manual or look here if you can’t find it. When taking your photos, consider:

  • Take many photos – the gold will be in there
  • Try many different angles
    • low looking up
    • high looking down
    • from the sides
    • tight in on the child’s face, for details
  • Get your child to do poses and imagine how their character would act, make it fun for them, be loud!
  • A stick, yes from your yard, can be so many different things
    • A wand
    • A sword
    • A bow
    • Be imaginative


If you do need to use a camera phone, that’s okay, see camera phone tips below.

Choosing the right location

When you’re taking your photos, make sure to choose a location with good light, usually natural, outdoor light is best. You want to be able to quickly and comfortably grab a few different angles as well.

I need to use my smartphone, now what?

Do not fear, smartphones have come a very long way in the past decade and most smartphone cameras are quite advanced. The goal with smartphones is to have good lighting and to make sure you’re focused on your subject.

With the number of phones available on the market, we can’t possibly show you how to take the best photos with your smart phone, but below are a few general tips. You can find more details about general phone photography here, and if you’re an iPhone user, Apple has an awesome guide here.

For our needs try to keep these in mind:

  • Use the largest file format available on your phone
  • Try to take well lit photos, natural or brightly lit rooms
  • Ditch the flash and let the camera pick up the rooms light
  • Hold your phone steady and work on poses, instead of action shots
  • Use the power of Burst photos, their might be gold between the blurry photos
  • Take more photos – often times we can work to stitch several images together to bring an image into focus

To Costume and Accessorize or Not

Do you need to have a costume?
No, it’s not required, but it definitely is more impactful when kid’s have a costume or accessory to help them explore their creative side while pretending. It is also very difficult to completely costume a child proportionately based on their pose when we’re creating your image, but given a foundation, we can transform even the simplest shapes, like a stick, into something magnificent.

Okay, we’ve got a costume, but… 
The right costume for your kid is based on their imagination, they don’t have to be ornate. But here are a few tips to make sure they look their best:

  • Don’t cover their faces, unless you’re okay with a portrait where their face is covered!
    • Maybe your Batman is holding his mask or Iron Man has his mask up…
  • Make sure the fabric isn’t too wrinkled, you don’t have to iron or press, but if the garment has been balled up in the bottom of their closet for months – it won’t look great in a portrait
  • Make it fun, costumes are part of the fun, but they’re not required, only imagination

No costumes? No Sweat!
It’s okay if they don’t have a costume, props will often help turn a story into something magical, and like we’ve mentioned above—even a stick can be amazing.  If you’re in a no costume situation, talk through what their imaginative play might be… Are they an ordinary child that’s just discovered a wand and their ability to use it? Did they discover that their little (or big) sibling is a robot? Perhaps they’ve just found a dragon hiding under the slide at the playground?

I want this to be a surprise!

There are crafty ways for us to get kids to pose for pictures. For example, Grandma and Grandpa — if you want to create an Imagine Portrait for your children’s children, tell them you’re making a photo to send to their parents.

If you’re looking to create something, but are remote or only have pre-existing photography, that’s okay too. Look for photos of your imaginative little one being active, sometimes those image you’d never print or email are the ones that lend themselves best to an Imagine Portrait.

If you’re using pre-existing photos, please send us as many as possible. We’ll reply with a plan, prior to moving forward.

Should You Edit?

Whether taking photos on your phone or via DSLR — we live in a world where everyone has quick and easy tools at their disposal to edit, optimize and ‘perfect’ our photography.

PLEASE REFRAIN. We know, it’s hard. We have trouble with it too, but for an Imagine Portrait, we want the original, unaltered files, so that we can do all the manipulation and creation we need with the crispest possible image.

Besides, if you apply the Valencia filter to your image, it will look like Valencia when it’s done. If you make it Black and White, well…

Don’t edit. We’ll edit for you.