Get better photos of children by changing your perspective

I take a lot of photos. When I am at UCCC, I take lots of photos of small children. I am also 6’ 5” tall, so this makes for an interesting combination when trying to get compelling photographs of children who are just a couple feet tall.

I learned a long time ago when photographing my own children that I need to get down to their level, otherwise I would get a lot of photos of the tops of their heads. Doing this has improved my photography and produced many wonderful images.

Let me give you an example. Here is my long-time friend, Isabel, playing with chalk. It is a typical shot that many parents would make, standing above from their typical perspective. It is all right and does record what is happening; however, I would argue that it is rather boring and does not tell the whole story.

Instead of shooting from my typical perspective of six feet above little Isabel, in the photo below I got down to her level, literally putting my  camera on the ground, just like Isabel.

To me, this photograph does a much better job at capturing the moment and the joy of drawing on the sidewalk with chalk. Not only does it show Isabel much better, but it also tells more of the story. In the first image, all you saw was the top of Isabel and some chalk outlines. In the second image you can see another child drawing on the ground and a boy drawing on the post behind her. Instead of a picture that shows Isabel alone, in the second picture we have a group of children all doing the same thing, even though they are working on their own piece.

One more thing I would encourage is to fill the frame with your child. Standing, I was about 5-6 feet away from Isabel. When I changed perspective and went down to join her, I also moved to just a couple feet away and zoomed to fill the frame with her.  

So this summer when you see your child(ren) doing something you want to remember, try changing your perspective, go to their level and capture the moment and emotion, not just the top of heads.

Post by Jeffrey Pomranka