Childrens Portrait Photography - High Key Portraits

March 03, 2014  •  5 Comments

I have been following the great photographer Joel Grimes for some time now.  He has a distinctive look that really captures the beauty of his subjects.  During one of his CreativeLive online courses, he demonstrated his high key beauty look for which he is known.  I was fascinated by how simple he made this process look.  Of course, with several willing subjects around me (i.e. my energetic twins and my perpetual motion niece Amelia), I had to attempt to see if I could mimic his awe inspiring photographs.

Here are some of the photographs from this modeling session.


So, what are you thoughts?  Which are your favorites?

Please leave a comment (or two) below!  Thanks!

If you would like to know how I made these photographs, keep reading below. 

This photograph shows the lighting setup.  As you can see, it is a makeshift studio with lots of toddler toys in the vicinity!

High Key Portraits Lighting Setup

  • Flash #1:  Single Canon 580EX Speedlite in the 43" Apollo Orb by Westcott with diffuser; this speedlite was manually controlled at 1/4 power and zoomed out to 24mm.  I also used a 8 AA battery pack to help with the flash recycling.  I experimented with the flash power until the background (i.e. the Apollo Orb diffuser) was totally blown out and the light from the Apollo Orb nicely wrapped around the subject's face.
  • Flash #2:  Single Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite in the Cheetah Beauty Dish with the diffuser; this speedlite was manually controlled at 1/2 power + 1/3 and zoomed out to 24mm.  Again, I also used a 8 AA battery pack to help with the flash recycling.  I experimented with the flash power until I achieved minimal facial shadows and an angelic, glowing look on the subject's face.
  • Both Flash #1 and Flash #2 were controlled by the on camera Canon 580EX II Speedlite (the on camera speedlite is used only as a controller and it did not fire).  Flash #1 was controlled by the Radiopopper PX radio transmitter/receiver system while Flash #2 was optically triggered by the on camera 580EX II Speedlite.
  • Light stand with a 42" silver reflector to bounce light back up and fill out the shadows under the neck
  • Tripod:  Vanguard Alta Pro 26AB100
  • Light stand:  Cheetah Boom with a 15 pound sandbag as a counterweight to prevent the beauty dish from toppling over
  • Apple box for the kids to stand on in front of the Westcott Apollo Orb

I used the following camera and lens for this photoshoot:

  • Camera:  Canon 5D Mark II
  • Lenses:  24 - 105mm f/4.0L

Remember, leave a comment below!



Remember, leave a comment below!



James Keck Photography
Emile, Thank you for your comment! I really appreciate your input.
Emile Geneux(non-registered)
Really loved Audrey with the pigtails!
James Keck Photography
Thank you, Jan and Amy! I am so happy that you enjoyed my photographs.
Jan Adams(non-registered)
Pretty Children….Captured their beautiful smiles and gleaming eyes!
Amy Keck(non-registered)
Beautiful children! ( no bias)
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