portraits with daddy miami portrait photographer Kathleen Ballard Photography

What great fun it is to dress up a little one in the same style as Daddy heading to the office! Capturing the essence of a child admiring his dad and wanting to follow in his footsteps was the goal of these photos.

Styling is so important, and although these two suits were stripes and plaids, it works because the man’s suit is still fairly plain. Then bringing in a few colorful details that mirror the clothing and indicate an office surrounding enhance the situation.

Expression is key to making this picture work, and we started out with father and son sitting in the same position, but as we all know, a 3 year old does not hold still for more than a few clicks of the camera, so we went with the laughter and then bribed Jackson to stand still for a few more minutes with M & M’s. The whole photo shoot was finished in 15 minutes, but we accomplished some priceless photos and the
parents were very happy.

Lighting is also of key importance, and for this studio shot, I used 4 lights. One main light straight on to their faces, and 2 strip lights with the brightness 1 stop lower on both sides of their faces. I had a hair light overhead to accent their dark hair against the dark background.

My favorite is with Jackson laughing in his father’s lap, he was just beginning to crumble at that point, but I think his dad tickled him and we was giggling and enjoying the moment.


Photographing a family portrait is as individual as each family is unique. In a short time the photographer needs to access the family dynamics and try to capture the essence of their true personalities.

Recently I photographed this large family – 5 boys and 1 girl, all teens and early 20’s along with their parents. The wonderful thing with this family was they all seemed to truly like each other,
which is immensely helpful, and there was no arguing between each other or the parents. You can
definitely tell the individuality of each personality, from serious to super relaxed, and that does
come across in expressions as well as body language.

Allowing the family to halfway choose their natural positions will help make each one more comfortable. With older siblings it may be easier to place by height and size, however, with smaller children, there are definite preferences of where they want to stand or sit, and it is imperative to a great photo to allow them to congregate accordingly.

With this large family, I wanted to have them spread out to give a relaxed feeling while keeping the continuity of the family. It is important to have families touch – to be arm in arm or holding hands at times will show that they are a unit and love each other. Also clothing choices have a great effect on the mood of the picture, and trying your best to make sure they blend, especially in a large family situation, is very important to create a feeling of a well thought out picture.

I often show people I am photographing pictures I’ve gathered from ads or magazines that display attractive positions and posing. I also get right in there and show people how I would like to have them positioned and how to pose their legs and bodies. A woman needs to know that the front leg bent will give her a slimmer look and a man often needs to know what to do with his hands.

Another way to set the mood is to bring a small speaker and use a station like Spotify to put on background music. With the new portable speakers it is so easy to throw a one on a chair or the ground and the vibes tends to loosen people up and they can forget that they are posing. With all these things in place, it becomes much easier to end up with a beautiful photograph that will take prominence in their family home.

Birthday parties- Party Girls!!

Birthday pictures are memories that you will always take you back in time to that special moment of fun and excitement. Creating happy birthday pictures can be a challenge, so here is an important list of successful tips to help you succeed. Plan your party place and set up ahead of time. Whether it is your dining room or a picnic table outdoors, to get your best shots, prepare the setup and be ready to shoot immediately upon arrival of the children.
Have pleasing lighting planned ahead of time, if outdoors, make sure there is no harsh light to cause harsh shadows and an unpleasing effect. Under a tree might be good as long as there is enough sunlight to create a nice smooth skin tone.
Have children dressed and ready to go before they are allowed to see the party area. It will keep their genuine enthusiasm for the picture and that is what you want to capture.
Have some props that are simple and will add amusement to your photo. I actually had teacups for this shot that did not work out. The children were really too young to appreciate the concept of drinking from a teacup, and played with the cups and saucers and knocked them over several times before I canned that idea. With older children, it can be a fun idea – these two sisters are 1 and 2 years old. The balloons worked beautifully, as they were a compliment to the picture and the children were thrilled to play with them.

Some fun music in the background lends itself to a party atmosphere, encouraging the children to dance and clap.

Don’t say “SMILE” instead, engage them in conversation that will make them react with a smile.

such as “Wheeee – isn’t this fun? Yay, Whoopee, Let’s dance!”

Most of all, shoot quick and don’t get discouraged. I took these photos in just a few minutes, the mother was sure we didn’t get anything because Savannah – age 2, was running in circles most of the time, and the baby – age 1, had a bad cold and was not smiling as much as we had hoped. However, once you edit down to the bare bones, there are a lot of cute pictures!

Greek Goddess

Hello Everyone,
I have been remiss with my blog, but I am starting up again and hope you will join in with my words and insights in the photography world!

Today I’m discussing this beautiful college student , Michelle, that I photographed last week.
To begin planning a photo shoot, it’s important to create and build on an idea you have in mind. I search all sorts of magazines and sites to spurn new ideas. Michelle reminded me of a renaissance painting, a sort of goddess from greek mythology, and I began to plan accordingly.
I wanted a garden with a grand vista and we took off for Old Cutler Road and landed at Thalatta Estate. We walked down to the water just before sunset, which is a wonderful time to photograph people, as the light is low and will illuminate the eyes and highlight the face with just the right amount of shadow.

Here you can see that Michelle looks gorgeous with a simple summery dress which I added a swirl of gardenias plucked from my gardenia bushes in my front garden to set the stage for a goddess. Any flower will serve it’s purpose, but these smell divine and I wove them together with a thin piece of beaded wire I purchased from JoAnn Fabric.

This late in the day overcast sun softens the skin and brings out the beautiful blue in Michelle’s eyes. She naturally has smooth, creamy skin, which is emphasized with a soft glow of the late afternoon sun.

I asked Michelle to do a few twirls and we caught this wonderful feeling with the magnificence of the Thalatta gardens. Then for some close ups I had her lean over the railing with the sun bouncing back up into her eyes. You can see from this 30 minute photo shoot, that we captured the grandeur of the garden in the largest photographs, and the magnificence of Michelle’s facial features by moving in very close to show off her eyes, mouth, and glorious hair.
We returned to my studio for one last close up, I didn’t want to waste such great hair and makeup, and she changed to a lace dress which is mostly covered with long curls, for one last beautiful shot with a dark blue backdrop. You can see that a little shadow on one side of the face creates depth and makes the picture more interesting.

Until we meet again- have a wonderful, happy day!

Taking beautiful pictures with your baby

What makes a gorgeous mother and baby picture? There is no step by step combination, however, here are some brilliant ideas to make your next mom and baby picture stand out and be worth framing.

Step one is to research your photographer. There are many skillful photographers, each with their own individual style. Check out websites and actually call and talk to the photographer to find out if you click with their personality, then discuss what sort of picture you are looking for and how you can achieve your best ever pictures.

Take notice of pictures you like from magazines, internet, and tv ads. The clothing is always important, and usually a simple style and plain colors are the secret to making the people stand out.

Clothing does set the mood, so if you are looking for soft and innocent, choose light colors, pastels, creams or white. For a stronger statement, dark background and stronger lighting can accentuate your subjects. Bright colorful outfits can bring life and gaiety, hats and balloons can create a festive look as well.

I like to focus on smooth, soft skin tones, clear, defined eyes, and mother – baby eye contact. Think of what makes a mom and baby so special, the way you connect, smile and coo with your baby is what takes the viewer into your loving moment.

Don’t think you always need to look at the camera, the warmth and love of a mother and child is displayed in the eyes, hands, smiles and caress. Focus on your baby, a good photographer will direct you in a friendly manner to get the best pose and feel in your photograph.

Plan your photo shoot at a time and place that your baby will be comfortable. Whether in a studio or outdoors, all of the elements such as time of day, warmth and hunger will effect your baby’s mood. Make sure your photographer will have plenty of time to take delightful pictures with patience and no stress. Try to meet your photographer ahead of time and create a relationship that will make your picture day easy and fun.

The treasures of today’s expert photographs, will last throughout time. From the present when you adore your own baby, to the future generations, a breathtaking photograph will keep your tender memories alive for all to enjoy.

Senior beauty and elegance 

Sometimes young ladies can totally surprise you! Put them in jeans and a t-shirt and they look sweet, young and innocent. Change them into an evening dress, a little hair and makeup – and Whoa! the beautiful teen became an elegant mademoiselle!  
Presenting Megan – in the palms with her jeans and then fresh and girlish face, also dressed in a 60’s flowery wreath. 

She looks gorgeous with doe like eyes and smooth creamy skin. I captured these special qualities by placing her in partial sun, although the clouds were in and out, and using a silver reflector just about chin height to create the stunning catchlights in her eyes.
Then with a change of clothes and studio location, she playfully jumped and twirled in this cocktail dress, and later we had her lying on the floor to capture her in a captivating pose of allure and fetching magnificence.  Studio lighting was done with one beauty light and reflector on the opposite side and a reflector underneath the chin, to create a dramatic appeal and smooth creamy skin.

Teens and senior portraits are one of my favorites to photograph, as there is so much diversity from charming innocence to exquisite sophistication!