Set the right mood for a mother and son portrait by deciding what you want out of the photo session. Discuss this thoroughly with the photographer and ask him for advice. Bring props you wish to include in your photo, including a change of clothing to capture different looks. Avoid staging the scene too much as it will show in the end product. Keep it light for a natural portrait.
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Mother and Newborn Son
Newborns sleep a great deal of the time; use this to your advantage when it comes to getting a great mother and son portrait. You may decide to go to a great deal of trouble in dressing the baby up, but some of the best shots of mom and babe will be with him stripped down (his diaper can be left on to avoid mishaps). Have the mother hold her son as she feels comfortable and experiment. Try shooting both of their faces in profile, his hand in hers and try posing baby in the mother's hands or across her lap. It is important to move quickly when working with babies.
Mother and Older Child
With older kids, the sky is the limit for portraits. Choose indoors, outdoors or a combination of both. Try profile portraits with mom and child looking at the camera. Have the child wrap his arms around his mom's neck and mom can either look at the camera or at her son. Move outside for some action shots. In the autumn they can jump in leaves, in winter they can build a snowman, spring and summer make for great garden and park shots. With older kids, spontaneity is key; roll with it as they don't like to sit for extended periods of time.
Mother and Teenage Son
Teenagers, when willing, can be the easiest to instruct when it comes to poses but be sure to work with them to find their best angles. Introduce elements from the son's life, for instance if he plays sports or rides a skateboard, stage the photo around what he loves and incorporate mom. Do traditional posing like profile pictures or the classic photograph of mom seated and son standing behind with his hands on her shoulders. If willing this pose can be fun in a retro way. Have mom seated and the son kissing her head. Ask the teenager about his ideas for a photo with his mom as he might have something unexpected in mind.
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