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Family Portraits with a Magical Twist

by Katie Tavares (follow)
Tutorials (6)      Portraits (1)      Family Portraits (1)     

Here is an idea that might inject a touch more excitement and creativity into your typical family portrait. For something unique, why not incorporate elements of a popular children's fairy tale or story book into your portraits. You may choose to take this creative challenge head on with elaborate costumes and props or you may want to use simple and symbolic elements of these stories for subtle enhancement.

This is what I would suggest to my clients based on my favourite stories and fairy tales:

Goldilocks and the Three Bears

If you have a family of three you may consider using 3 chairs, like the ones featured in the famous storybook. Imagine the Dad on a large wooden chair, Mum on a medium wooden chair and child on a small wooden chair. Side by side and in a descending line, this will create a unique and magical way to frame your portrait. Or perhaps if you want a portrait of only your young child, you may have them in the biggest chair, with a medium sized teddy bear sitting in the middle chair and a smaller teddy bear on the smallest chair. Porridge optional.

The Three Bears
By Golden Books, Illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky

Alice in Wonderland

A mad hatters tea party indoors or out could be more appropriate for your family, especially if you have a few more children or have children at various ages. With a mixture of weird and wonderful hats to try, this portrait session will feel more like an actual tea party as there is a smaller need to make the whole family pose - candid shots with this theme is the way to go. And don't forget the famous Cheshire Cat and the White Rabbit - if you have a family cat, or any family pets for that matter, incorporate them into your portraits, after all they are family as well and the potential fun and chaos they may stir up is perfectly fitting for a mad hatters afternoon.

Alice in Wonderland
By Lewis Carroll, Illustrated by John Tenniel

Snow White

Snow White is a fairy tale that has one very symbolic feature that you can really draw inspiration from for your family portrait. The apple. You may decide to take a family trip to an apple orchard and be photographed picking apples as a family or set up a family picnic where deep red apples are the featured food. Playfully, set up two signs in front of piles of apples that read apples and poison apples. This theme takes a slightly darker tone, however to lighten the theme, if you have the family or even just the children crushing the poison apples in a tub, the kids can get their hands dirty whilst you grab some extremely fun and candid shots of your loved ones, not to mention some fresh apple juice ready post photo shoot.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
By RH Disney, Illustrated by RH Disney


- Create portraits for numerous storybook and fairy tale themes and turn it into a calendar for personal use or for a unique Christmas gift idea.

- Instead of setting up a portrait session, use play time with your children for the perfect opportunity to take candid portraits. You can even use the camera on your phone and the pictures will be just as memorable and 10 times more creative.

- With each story or fairy tale that you incorporate into your family portrait, place a hard copy of that book somewhere in the background to pay homage to where you have found your inspiration.

Which fairy tale or popular children's storybook ideas would you like to feature in a family portrait session and how do you think you might do it?

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