Documenting Your Family | Photo Tips | Get On Their Level

One of the keys to getting great pictures of kids, is getting down on their level. This simple step accomplishes a few things…

  • It opens your eyes to the way children see the world, and helps you relate to them.
  • It can give interesting backgrounds that mostly go ignored by us grownups.
  • It helps hold kids’ attention, as they are unaccustomed to having the big people look them in the eye.
  • It makes the little ones smile, they love watching us struggle to move around for a change.
  • It lets your camera really see into a child’s eyes, rather than looking up through their eyelashes

So what does moving down to the kid’s level mean from a technical perspective? Since you are lower and pointing your camera up, you are likely to have some sky or brightly lit background in the frame. This can trick your camera’s light meter and cause the images to be underexposed. Just be aware of this as you are shooting. If your camera allows, it might be a good idea to dial in some exposure compensation.

Another thing to consider is your clothing. When I work with kids, I almost always wear jeans or shorts because I am invariably kneeling, sitting or rolling around on the ground. This makes kids laugh, and keeps the atmosphere light, but it is hard on dress clothes.

Below are some pictures from a shoot with Molly. You will notice that I was moving up and down as I was shooting these. I was also moving in and out (with my feet, since I don’t really use zoom lenses). I think this is an important point – allowing the kids to move around, and you yourself moving around, keeps everyone animated and engaged.

You can click on any of the images to see them larger. Enjoy…

Tech Info:
Natural Light
Nikon D70s
Nikon 35mm f2
Adobe Camera Raw – no actions or filters

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