We see the world from our own eye level and so it is natural to do our family photography from there as well; images are familiar, comfortable, safe, straight. Plus, of course, it saves bending down or climbing up!
But what if we changed things a bit – or even a lot?
When photographing children, try getting down to their eye level. Firstly, you’ll notice a whole new view of the world – one you haven’t seen for some time – but most importantly, you’ll get far greater engagement in your shot – you child’s eyes will be more appealing, you will be taking a picture in their world and they will look more commanding, confident and significant. It also, frankly, shows respect for the person you are photographing.
<<You can see the difference in this lovely black and white portrait: Finn’s eyes are looking straight at us, rather intently; he is pointing something out and we want to know what; he is engaging with the camera but not posing for it. In short, it’s very him.
There is also something else different about this image – the camera has been tilted meaning the shot is not straight. While this can be over used it’s a lovely, interesting and eye-catching way to make things a bit different.
>>Finally, of course, you can get up above your subject. Here we see a very different shot of my daughter Lydia, taken just before she and brother Oscar stopped sharing the same bedroom. They both wanted shots taken in the shared room before everything changed.
This is a favourite example from my professional work – a pre-wedding shoot for a young couple taken early one Sunday morning in Butler’s Wharf:
Now it’s your turn:
Grab your camera and a willing subject or two and take three sets of shots:
Set one: To be taken at the subject’s eye level (if adult, they may need to be sitting).
Set two: Tilt the camera rather than have it horizontal.
Set three: A combination of the first two set rules – so eye level and tilted.
Do you like these effects? Would you use them in some of your family photography? Do let me know what you think.
And, most of all, enjoy yourself . . .
This post is a one in a series on Family Photography hints, tips and advice that I will be posting in the run up to Christmas. Please add a comment here or on my Facebook page if there is any aspect of your photography you’d like some help with.
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