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Portrait tips for Mother's Day Gifts

Tips on shooting portraits you can turn into Mother's Day presents.

| Portraits and People
For those of you who've forgotten it's Mother's Day this Sunday don't panic! We have a few tips on creating a gift that will leave your Mum grinning from ear-to-ear.

Portrait tips for Mother's Day Gifts: Family photo
Photo by Peter Bargh.


  • Tripod
  • DSLR
  • Telephoto-zoom – flattering portrait perspective


Everyone knows Mums like photos, particularly if they're of their kids, so if you're still searching for a gift why not save yourself a bit of money and spend some time shooting some portraits you can give?


Your first move is to find a willing model and obvious candidates are your children, grandchildren or even yourself if you're working on something for your own Mum.


If you're going for a formal portrait your subject can be stood or seated, but pose them too much and you'll end up with something that looks like the old style school portrait where the subject just looks fed-up and uncomfortable.

As your subject will most likely be young it's easier to shoot candids while they're running around and playing. This will make them more comfortable and as a result, you'll end up with more interesting shots.

Just remember it's your job to make your subject feel comfortable so if you do pick the formal method, use your tele-zoom so you can shoot from further away.  This will put more space between you and your sitter so they'll be more relaxed. Don't stand too far back though as you'll need a megaphone to shout instructions to them.

Hand-held or Tripod?

It's always good to use a tripod but if you're not using a particularly long lens and want to work hand-held adjust your ISO to get a quicker shutter speed, 1/60sec + will do the trick, and you can keep your camera in your hands all day.


Not everyone has a set of studio flashes tucked away but everyone does have access to natural light. If you're working indoors set up near a window but make sure your subject's not sat in direct sunlight as you'll have contrast problems. Bright days work well but if there's a little cloud in the sky still shoot your portraits as the clouds will act like a softbox and diffuse the light. Outdoors, look for places that have consistent, even light. If you want to use flash outside take a look at our previous article: Flash outdoors.


Usually, plain, simple backgrounds work the best both indoors and out. But if you're outdoors and haven't got a plain background with you simply use a slightly wider aperture and throw the distracting background out of focus.

What to do with your photos?

Once you have your images try turning one of the shots into a Mother's Day card or simply print it off and place it in a frame. Then next year, when hopefully you'll be a little more organised, try turning your shots into photographic gifts. Albelli can create custom greeting cards for you or turn your images into a canvas or a Photo Book. Prices start from as little as £6.95.

Create your own photo gifts and make moments last a lifetime with Albelli – the Photo Book experts.

Portrait tips for Mother's Day Gifts: Albelli Photo Book offer

Portrait tips for Mother's Day Gifts:

Portrait tips for Mother's Day Gifts:

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