Jenny Photography | How to compose great outdoor photos of your child

How to compose great outdoor photos of your child

July 17, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

 

How you compose your photograph is really important, and getting the right balance in the composition can make the difference between an OK photo of your child and a great photo. You’ll need an eye for detail, but with a bit of practice and some great tips it’s easy to master, meaning you’ll enhance the impact of your photos and give you photos you want to look at again and again.

 

  1. Use the “Rule of thirds” in your composition.  This means imagine dividing the viewfinder into thirds both horizontally and vertically – many digital cameras can display this grid for you if you look in the options.  For close up photos, position your childs eyes where a vertical line and a horizontal line cross in the top part of the grid.  For half or full-length photos, position their face on one of these points. Basically, try to avoid putting them right in the middle of your photo.
  2. Again using the rule of thirds, for atmospheric distance shots of your children incorporating lots of the landscape, you can experiment with having one third sky and two thirds land or vice versa.  Using this landscape, get your children to run to a point in the distance and take some shots whilst they are running with their back to you.  Then get them to run back and keep the camera snapping as they run back.
  3. When taking photos of children, come down to their eye-level for most of your photos.  Mix this up a bit with looking down or up every now and again, but for the bulk of your photos, crouch down to their level and get their view of the world.
  4. Less is more. When in doubt, leave it out. If there is something in the viewfinder that isn’t relevant or distracting to the photo of your child, either leave it out, move it (where you can!) or move your viewpoint.
  5. Try to use diagonals in your photos.  These bring interest and will make it more pleasing.  For older children you could ask them to tilt their head and also use their arms.  These could be put on their hips or brought up to their face or hair to add a lovely diagonal. For younger children you could say “give me a xx pose” (xx could be Katie Perry, Jessie J, Superman, Spiderman - whatever your child is into) or use games like Simon Says to get them jumping around and using their arms and tilting their heads to give you a bit more action and fun. 
  6. Think about using interesting objects or scenery to add a diagonal into your photo, for example play with your child in and around an interesting tree with great branches that can add the diagonal into your image.  Other great ideas are to use stairs, or even paths into the distance – keeping them safe at all times obviously! 
  7. Using diagonals again, and particularly for younger children where you really will get a horrible grimace if you ask them to pose and smile, try tilting your camera to add this diagonal interest.  So instead of keeping your child straight in the viewfinder, tilt the camera.
  8. If you take a photo of your child looking side on to the camera, give the image plenty of space for them to be “looking into”.  Don’t have them looking straight out of the photo!
  9. Change your perspective and use benches, trees or play equipment to get a higher viewpoint for some of your photos.  Looking down and zooming in on your childs face whilst they look up at you gives you variety in your images and it can look fantastic.  Similarly, try some where you are lying on the floor looking up and get them to lean in or look down to you.
  10. Use natural frames such as trees, archways, branches, flowers, etc to frame your child.  This can give you stunning images.

 

Whilst there are some composition rules such as the rule of thirds don’t be afraid to experiment and break the rules. Composition isn’t a science, so if a rule doesn’t work for the image you are creating, go ahead and ignore it. These days with a digital camera it’s easy to experiment with different compositions of your child until you find the right one.


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