Children Portraits: Uma and Maz

Uma and Maz are cute as they come! My first child photography mini-clients are growing up and getting so adorable! Loved working with them and talking to their mother, my dear friend Laura. Please enjoy the images. Photos are all taken with the Nikon D700 and Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G, natural light. One of my favorite combinations!

Post-processing was very quick – I simply imported everything into Lightroom, then cropped and aligned images a little. For the black and white image below, I used Lightroom’s built in functionality for converting to B&W. Under the HSL/Color/B&W panel in Develop Module, I used the following values: Red: 0, Orange: +3, Yellow: 0, Green: -20, Aqua: -35, Blue: -30, Purple: +5, Magenta: +5. To give it a slightly “chocolaty” look, I used “Split Toning” with a slight coloring to Shadows and some tweaks to Hue and Saturation. Then, I used “Strong Contrast” under “Tone Curve” to make B+W look punchier, but it was not enough, so I increased the “Blacks” to 25 under “Basic” to bring up more blacks.

Uma and Maz #1


The day was sunny and nice, but the sun was still rather harsh, so I moved the kids under the porch to move away from direct sunlight. As usual, I shot in aperture priority mode and used an aperture of f/3.5, since I was standing rather close and I did not want to blur their faces. At the same time, f/3.5 was small enough to bring the bodies into focus and large enough to blur some of that background :)

Uma and Maz #2

This time, I decreased the aperture to f/1.8 to have a shallower depth of field, so Maz got out of focus a little…Plus I was more interested in Uma’s facial expression rather than snapping another shot of them together in focus.

Uma and Maz #3

For the rest of the images, I used an aperture of f/2.5 (I like to stay between f/1.8 and f/2.8 on the 50mm for good-looking bokeh), which delivers sharp images in the center, yet blurs the background enough to make the portraits look pleasing.

Uma and Maz #11

Uma and Maz #4

As you can see, all of the images were taken in a shade – I rarely work with sunlight, unless the light is very soft early in the mornings or late afternoons.

Uma and Maz #5

Uma and Maz #6

Uma and Maz #7

Uma and Maz #8

That’s how we decided to pica boo with Uma!!!

Uma and Maz #9

…and Maz decided to join :) but then he didn’t like this game much! He is a big man now, with a shovel :)

Uma and Maz #10

Uma and Maz #12
When it comes to photography, some children are very eager to pose in front of a camera and others are somewhat difficult to work with. Trust me, I know how it feels to work for hours and not get one decent picture. I have two sons of my own and up to this day I do not have a single good picture of them – nothing to be proud of, since both Nasim and I are photographers :)  Maz was no exception – boys like mine and Maz would rather go do some interesting stuff than pose in front of a camera. Nothing helps, unless you are equipped with extra toys, balloons and lollipops that I usually carry. My heavens, when I was photographing Uma and Maz, I forgot everything at home! To get these kids to look at me, I had to get creative by blowing a bubble with the gum in my mouth! Yeah, children do not mind if you chew bubble gum in front of them :) Whatever you have to do as a photographer to get their attention…

  • Ahmed Al-Ibrahim

    Beautiful pictures, thanks for sharing

    • Nasim Mansurov

      Thank you for checking them out, Ahmed :)

  • Arlan

    prety good pics, Lola! I have the same problem with my girlfriend.

    • Nasim Mansurov

      Arlan, we females are very tricky to work with. Patience, patience and one more time patience :)

  • Ralu

    Great series! The colors are great! Can I ask what WB did you use?

    • Nasim Mansurov

      Ralu, everything was shot in Auto WB, then corrected where needed in Lightroom.

  • Andre Roussakoff

    I love these pictures! The children are so lovely, and such wonderful compositions and colors. Sharp faces and blurred background. Simply perfect!

    • Nasim Mansurov

      Thank you, Andre! :)

  • Douglas

    Do you shoot in Jpeg or Raw? I still shoot in Jpeg since I’m not good at using photo editing software yet but just wondering :)

    • Nasim Mansurov

      Douglas, both Lola and I shoot in RAW and use Lightroom and Photoshop for post-processing.

      I would just start with Lightroom – it is a very nice photo management/processing software.

  • aaron

    hi there!

    can i get same quality pics as these photos u shared if Im using D7000 or D90 camera with a Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G???

  • Douglas

    Yea I would like to know that as well ad how you get your pictures to stand out like that? Are these pics straight from the camera? Or do you find that post processing is always necessary?

  • Amanda

    I am a beginner and trying to learn some tips of portrait photography. When using the 50mm f1.8 lens on the D5100:
    1. when shooting close up, is the only option for focusing on two faces is to let the camera choose the focal points?

    2. do I just close the aperture some and just focus on one face and hope it doesn’t blur the other?

    or 3. combo the two and do both….increase aperture and still let camera try to pick the focal points?

    I seem to just have hard time figuring out when to set on single focal point setting and I choose the spot or let camera pick multiple spots even though they may not be exactly where i would have chosen.

    • Nasim Mansurov

      Amanda, the fix for your problem is very simple – just position the two faces on the same plane in front of you, then take a picture. Imagine your depth of field in front of you as a wall. Whenever you need more than one subject to be sharp, just put them on a straight plane and you can even shoot with very large apertures :) Don’t let the camera choose the focal points – that’s the worst thing you can do. Increasing aperture is not going to do much either, especially if faces are not very close to each other. If you are getting only a slight amount of blur, then stopping down to f/2.8 – f/4 might help.

  • Dony

    Amazing pictures and the children are so cute!! Can you tell me what AF mode that you use?

  • Vipul Kapadia

    Hi Nasim,
    I pretty much followed the same steps in lightroom with settings to create a preset for the “chocolaty look” but it comes newhere close to your’s. Do you mind sharing your settings for the Split Toning area? Not sure if you have a preset for that look. It looks simply stunning. Thanks.

  • Terri

    I love your website and routinely refer to your expertise whether it be Lightroom, D5100, or portrait info. Your children are adorable! Thanks for all the info!! This article helped me with my 50 1.4g questions as to what my aperture settings should be for a great portrait. I shoot in Manual and need to start using the other modes for more flexibility. Thanks again!

  • Dina

    Lola I am a biiiiig fan of your pictures you are so talented
    Thank u for sharing
    More posts pls
    Nice day

  • masagus

    love it…