As the photographer, changing your position can help improve the composition of your photos. If you feel that your photos always look the same or are lacking interest, try these tips from Jennifer Tonetti-Spellman to create more interesting images.
One of these days I will get around to hiring someone film me behind-the-scenes. I literally don’t stop moving. I’m always jumping on chairs, couches, steps, or crawling on my tummy Marine-style across wood floors, dirt and sometimes even concrete (ouch!) It is all in an effort to take photos from different angles and positions–to bring more impact to my compositions and to demonstrate what I am seeing when I photograph a child. Here are three quick tips on how to achieve a more interesting photo composition by changing your position. Shoot up, Shoot down, Get down- kind of catchy, eh?
We are always told ‘Don’t shoot up, it isn’t flattering.’ And while that statement holds true for most of us adults, for kids it’s awesome. Some of my favorite lifestyle photos happen when a child is in motion and I am shooting up. Take this swing shot. Since he was swinging pretty high, I did scale up the jungle gym a bit, but still kept the camera pointed in an upward angle. It gave a real feeling of his freedom in flight.
Shooting up also helps to highlight contrasts- as in this case with the little girl walking with the big massive trees behind her.
For the photo of my daughter jumping in the fog, shooting up at her (I shot this sitting down in the street) gave a little extra ‘lift’ to her jump by making the jump appear slightly more ambitious.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is shooting down at your subject. A tree stump, step, couch, step stool etc. can be the place you hop onto and work to your advantage if you position yourself above the subject. It’s very storytelling as in this photo of the child with the snow globe.
This is also a way to get a photo of siblings from a different perspective. Have the kids lay on the bed then jump up on it (ask Mom first of course). They usually think it’s pretty weird at the least to have me standing over them on the bed shooting down, but that curiosity makes for a great photo.
Word of caution: always be sure your camera strap is around your neck and you have a tight grip on the camera. Not only can you damage your equipment when the laws of gravity are pulling on your camera, but more important, you must protect your little subjects from a camera falling on their head. Remember safety before the shot always.
Shooting down from atop something is also a great way to add catchlights to a head shot/portrait when outside. Eyes are just gorgeous from this angle as are details such as eyelashes that you can see in this photo of the little boy hugging his mama.
Get down on a child’s level. For playing shots, drop down on your belly and see what a difference it makes in your photo composition. It’s like you are right in there with them and gets you really up close and personal. Like a peek into their little world.
Don’t be afraid to mimic a child either when getting down to their level. I was laying down on the bench opposite this little man as he played tunnel. Had I photographed it any other way, it would have lost the intimacy. It also gave me a really cool angle and a feeling of movement in the composition.
So if you feel like you have been shooting in the same.position.every.shot. just get moving! The more you move as a photographer, the more interesting your compositions become and the greater the story will be.
Jennifer Tonetti-Spellman, owner of JellyBean Pictures is a die-hard, natural light, lifestyle photographer in New York who loves to search for the light. Like her on Facebook and follow her blog to continue being inspired by her beautiful work!
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