Category Archives: Tips on how to photograph kids

This is a series of posts that I wrote in throughout 2013 and briefly in 2016. In these posts I share tips on how to photograph kids and how it can help you make better photographs of your children.

Straight lines and horizons | Photography tip

That’s right, as I mentioned on the last post and reminded this week on facebook, the photography tips are back on the blog. The idea, from now on, is to share with you every month (more or less) a photography tip that will improve your family photos. I started sharing these tips a few years ago and to those who don’t know them yet or want to recall them, you can check all tips here.

Today’s tip is about horizons and other lines that appear in the image and to which we must pay attention in order to avoid tilted photographs. Every time there’s a tilted horizon in an image,  I automatically rotate my neck to compensate that. That happens whether it’s a photograph from outside where the sea is falling to one of the sides or from indoors with a sliding floor from which a seated kid may fall to.

I must confess though that, no matter how focused I am, I make this mistake a lot. But it bothers me so much that, while editing the images, that’s the first thing I correct. It’s automatic. The ideal, of course, is to nail it when shooting, but that’s not always possible because there are those fun unexpected moments I want to get more than anything else (a kid laughing, a sweet family moment, etc).

The best way to avoid this mistake is to pay attention to lines present in our field of view such as the horizon, doors, windows, etc, and also to have a correct positioning while holding the camera and looking through the viewfinder.

In the following example you can see an image tilted deliberately (notice the window).

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I love this picture very much, but it makes me tilt my eyes to the correct direction.

And now, here’s the same image, corrected.

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It’s a small detail, but it makes a huge difference. Isn’t this image much more comfortable?

Here are a few more examples:

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However, like in every rule, there a few exceptions. And sometimes an image has such a dynamism and energy that the fact that is tilted doesn’t come into play, or it may help even. The following are a few examples of that.

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I hope you enjoyed this tip and that it is a helpful one. In a few weeks there’s more. Stay tuned!

Tip X: Framing your Subjects

This is another composing technique that I really enjoy doing. It’s about placing our subjects surrounded by elements that can be seen as natural frames. Doors, trees, or even out-of-focus objects on the foreground can result in some cool frames and make the image much more interesting.dica-tip-x

Tip IX: Lines to Guide the Eye

Lines can be a very useful element to compose an image and guide the viewer’s eye. The idea is to use them in a way that they “point” to our subject. In the images that I show here there are some very simple examples of this, but there are also some examples that are less obvious. On one of them you can see the out of focus wall that, as it gets sharper, guides our eye to the focused family. Also, the shadows from trees and from the subject himself end up working the same way. Like I usually say, there’s nothing like experiment and practice, then all of this becomes intuitive and very natural.dica-tip-ix

Tip VIII

Most of the times we photograph someone, it’s not possible (or desirable) to include the whole body onto the photograph. In these situations we should be careful how to compose the photograph in order to avoid the feeling that the subject is missing a limb.

To do that, we should avoid to “cut” the person we’re photographing by the joints.  What I mean is that if, at the border of the frame, we place the knees, elbows, pulses, neck, etc, the image becomes quite unpleasant to look at. It’s weird, but there’s nothing like trying this out and make this mistake to verify this. What we shoul do is to make that “cut” somewhere in the middle. If we want a simple portrait of the face we should include the shoulders and a bit of the chest; for a more open angle avoid cutting by the elbows and do it by arm or forearm; and the same for the legs.

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