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Vary the angle | Family Photography Hints, Tips and Advice

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.

family photography<<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.

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>>The angle does not need to be dramatic – take a look at the shot on the right that includes a slight tilt from vertical. In this case it creates diagonal lines and although they do not lead to the subject they do frame her.family photography
<<There is no need to stop there. What if we simply ignore the eye level rule and get down low and photograph upwards? Shots from below eye level make people in the shots look commanding, powerful and, sometimes, more attractive! This is true even if you are just a short distance below but very dramatic if you get down really low as in this location family portrait:

 

family photography>>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:

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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 . . .

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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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