Aug 21

Quick Tip: Photographing Children

Snow White – Panasonic GH2 with Olympus 45mm f/1.8

A lot of hobbyist photographers take pictures of their kids.  In fact, even for those who like shooting landscapes or macro, a lot of people take more pictures of their children than of any other subject.  I know that’s certainly the case for me. I love taking pictures of architecture, landscapes, sports, bugs, flowers, etc….but my daughter and other family members make up about 40% of my total clicks.  I think over time, I’ve evolved into a fairly decent photographer of children, and there are a few things that can help get better shots of kids, but today’s little article is about one big tip:

Get on the level of your subject

The biggest mistake I see when looking at people’s pictures of children is that they’re taken from above.  Hey, they’re taller than their kid, so that’s how they see them.  Problem is, it makes these photos feel disconnected and impersonal.  Just the simple act of dropping to your knee, or lowering the camera to the ground, to get a more on-level view with the child can make all the difference in the world.  It will increase the connection of the viewer with your subject and add extra impact to the image.

I’ve gotten in the habit of this so much that I now just do it instinctively, and the only time I will shoot from above is if that vantage point achieves a specific vision for the photograph I have in mind.   If you are playing on the floor with your child…lay down and shoot from below them, or get right in the mix with their toys.  Make them look like the full fledged people they are rather than the constant view down on top of their heads.  Give it a try and you’ll see your pictures improve dramatically.

Flying High – Panasonic GH2 with Canon FD 50mm f/1.4

Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Olympus 75mm f/1.8

Legos – Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Leica 25mm f/1.4

About the author

Jordan Steele

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Admiring Light; Photographer; Electrical Engineer and Dad

1 comment

  1. Talia

    Hello, and thanks for those great images! How far were you from the girl with the white and yellow dress to be able to include her from the feet up in the frame with a 150mm lens equivalent? I am quite interested by Olympus but unsure about the possibilith to get shallow depth of field due to smaller sensor, unless using very long focal lenghts but then being very far away… Thank you!

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