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5 Dad-Friendly Creative Father’s Day Portrait Ideas
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5 Dad-Friendly Creative Father’s Day Portrait Ideas


Most people assume that all dads want to spend Father’s Day playing golf, but that’s just not the case. More and more families are opting to celebrate the big day by spending time together which may include a portrait shoot of dear old Dad.


If you get the call that a client wants to sit for (or surprise their dad with) a Father’s Day portrait shoot, just say no to standard looks and styles. Come prepared with a few unique ideas up your sleeve, and you’ll be sure to deliver photos that your client will cherish forever.


Here are some ideas for creative, unique Father’s Day portraits:

Photo by Tamara Lackey

Go early, and shoot regardless of the weather:

June can be kind of a crapshoot, depending on where you live -- but embrace that. If you’re doing an outdoor portrait shoot, take a tip from Andy Katz, who says that “funky” weather and ultra-early-morning light often elicits the best results. Look to the sky to guide your light and camera needs, then really go for it, whether it’s weird clouds, a light rain, or unusual natural lighting. If Dad’s really determined to hit the links, see if you can convince him and the family to meet up before tee-time. 

Photo by Bambi Cantrell

Do a throwback:

Everyone obsessed with #ThrowbackThursday, which has spurred a lot of photographers and everyday folks to go back through old pictures and find the really beautiful/interesting/sometimes embarrassing ones. Ask your client to bring in some old photos of his dad or grandfather, and see if you can recreate or borrow from them. Or, look to other old vintage candids and fashion photos for a more “Mad Men”-esque look. Not only will the photos be cool and unique, those high-contrast black-and-whites are also super-flattering. 

Photo by Kelly Brown

Go high-art:

Ditch the standard chin-shelf style of portraiture, and instead, consider taking some advice from conceptual photographer Brooke Shaden, who often takes portraits to the n level with her unique style of high-art-inspired imagery. You don’t need to dress Dad up in a crazy costume to get there; these 10 basic posing tips can add a surprising new element to your portraits. 

...Or completely the other way:
With film photography experiencing a major resurgence, more photographers are moving away from high-concept portraits, and instead, opting for a more rustic, vintage look. Even if you’re not shooting digitally, you can get a more imperfect, rough look by shooting on location somewhere with a lot of old-school, rural-looking t (a field, a barn, or even an alley can provide that kind of backdrop), then doing some editing in your digital darkroom. Here are some pretty great tips on how to manage that. 

Photo by Julia Kelleher

Photos by Julia Kelleher

Incorporate the rest of the family:
This is a tip borrowed from newborn photographer Julie Kelleher, who frequently incorporates siblings, spouses, and anyone else who might be around. Because while it’s great to get some solo shots of Dad, you’ll probably have a better chance of getting a natural smile and a more relaxed, happy-looking subject if he’s surrounded by his favorite people. If the kids are very small, a Father’s Day photo shoot is also a great time to get some of the wee ones, which your client will appreciate for years to come.


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