Wanna Take Better Photos of Your Kids & Pets? Then be prepared to get dirty

Children and pets are possibly two of the most popular things to photograph. They’re (usually) both so cute and little that you can’t not take photos of them, right? I mean, just look at this face. Irresistible, no?

Puppy Dog Plays with Toy by Kim Olson

A puppy playing with his toy. (Photo by Kim Olson)

Taking good photos of kids and pets is probably one of the most challenging tasks you’ll take on when it comes to photography. If you’ve ever tried and have been unhappy with your results, you may agree with me.

A couple of reasons why it’s so hard is because they don’t sit still easily and have minds of their own (aka they don’t always want to listen to you).

Another issue is that they’re little compared to us big people.

Little boy with big brown eyes. (Photo by Kim Olson)

Little boy with big brown eyes. (Photo by Kim Olson)

Lemme ask you a question – how tall are you?

I know, kind of a weird thing to ask (and perhaps seemingly irrelevant), but it’s actually not.

One of the initial problems I see aspiring photographers make when they take photos of little creatures is they shoot from their own eye level, which can be anywhere from 2-5 feet above their subject.

When you’re constantly shooting down, you’re likely to capture a lot of the tops of heads. Or you’ll make the subject look a bit awkward when they crane their necks to look up at you. Or you’ll just capture a lot of grass or carpet.

Cute pug's face (Photo by Kim Olson)

Cute pug’s face (Photo by Kim Olson)

It’s still cute, but sometimes you need…

A New Perspective – It’s time to Get LOW

One of the best things you can do to keep your photography fresh and interesting is to remember to change your perspective.

When you do this, you can completely alter the way your camera is capturing the world and your subjects.

The next time you’re photographing babies or animals, try to get down to their eye level (or lower, even!) by sitting or lying down.

Photo of a dog taken while lying down on the ground (Photo by Kim Olson)

Photo I took of my dog, Nani, while I was lying down on the ground with her (Photo by Kim Olson)

There’s no doubt that you’re gonna get dirty crawling around on the ground. And it’s probably gonna feel a bit awkward, too, learning to shoot that way. But don’t worry, it’s not uncommon for photographers to contort themselves into all kinds of strange positions just to get the shot. Take your new awkward stances as a sign you’re moving in the right direction.

I think you’ll also find that it’s fun to take photos of your subjects when they can look straight into your lens rather than up at you. You become more a part of the action and have a better synergy with your subject.

Sometimes you’ll find that you can better anticipate their movements, too, and be better prepared to take your photos.

Photo of a little girl (Photo by Kim Olson)

Photo of a little girl (Photo by Kim Olson)

Your Challenge

Your challenge this week is to be open to new perspectives.

Whether you’re taking photos of doggies or little kiddos, remember to get low. See the world as they see it and do your best to capture the magic that happens down at their level, close to the ground.

, , , ,

2 Responses to Wanna Take Better Photos of Your Kids & Pets? Then be prepared to get dirty

  1. Wanda February 27, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    Another good tip that will make a big difference in my % of good shots. Thanks!

    • Kim February 28, 2013 at 5:28 pm #

      You’re most welcome, Wanda! :)