Photographing Children - POV [Point of View] - Digital Photography School

Photographing Children – POV [Point of View]

Since I began writing here at DPS, I’ve been shooting out little lists of tips for photographing children. But each little point on those lists has so much potential for further exploration in and of itself and it would be a shame not to delve deeper. Today, I am reflecting back on a post called ‘4 More Tips for Photographing Children‘. Specifically, tip #2 “POV”. The tip was this:

“Try a different point of view. It can add an edge to otherwise same-same photo situations and give your kid shots a whole new life of their own.”

POV is excellent, but what different POVs are there and what statement do they make? How can you practice this tip in your everyday life photographing your kids?

1.} Everyday events – Try photographing your everyday life from another POV. My all time favourite POV is straight down from above. It’s so amazing to see my kids from this POV and it’s rarely ever done. Most people think of an upshot or downshot but rarely think to shoot straight down with a bird’s eye view. In this image of my daughter, it isn’t even an unrealistic POV because it’s exactly what I see when pushing her around in her buggy. It’s a mom’s-eye-view and I love it.

This is another everyday event seen from an unnatural POV which makes a normally common photo of a baby messed with food more interesting. Don’t we always take photos of their faces covered in food? How about everything else?

2.} How? Make use of the things around you. This shot was taken from me on the top of a playground climbing frame. I just asked Elijah to ride his scooter underneath me and I think the result was outstanding!

3.} Say something – A high POV instantly makes your subject appear smallish and highlights their vulnerability. This works especially well for children because obviously, children are small and vulnerable and so taking a photo from this angle acknowledges this fact and shows that you understand what it’s like to be a child.

Photographing up from down below also says something. It says “I know you think you’re big – I’ll just let you think that!” Photographing someone from below makes them larger-than-life and highlights their superiority over that of the viewer. This is a particularly interesting POV for children because although they aren’t bigger than us in real life, they can be in pictures!

4.} Give it to ‘em straight – a straight on POV says ‘we’re equals’ and surprisingly, it actually makes them bigger than the previously mentioned tip to shoot them from below. This says, “I’m not patronising you by making you feel big. We’re equals and you’re grown-up in your own right.”

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category.

Elizabeth Halford is a Hampshire Photographer and keeps a rockin'photography blog where she writes about photography and business in "real.plain.english". She's addicted to Facebook and can be found answering photography and business questions every day here on her page

  • http://evilbearphotography.blogspot.com/ Mark Zelazoski

    Great tips. I especially like shooting from above to really get the innocence of the child. Here is perhaps my best example: http://evilbearphotography.blogspot.com/

  • Aisha

    Hey thanks for this. I saw this just in time since I am about to photograph children for a magazine. :)

  • http://www.vtcabinfever.blogspot.com Jen at Cabin Fever

    Very insightful! I particularly love the “mom’s eye view”. These Point of Views demonstrate how much an angle can really change the meaning of a photo! Thanks for sharing… I am going to be venturing into portrait photography (my first shoot will be children!) in the next couple of weeks so this is great reading.

    Cabin Fever in Vermont

  • http://jasoncollinphotography.com Jason Collin Photography

    The directly above the child perspective is a new one to me, not something I would think to do. I’ll give it a try.

    This from below with the child up on a arcing playground ladder is a perspective I want to use more in the future:

    http://jasoncollinphotography.com/blog/2010/2/10/candid-child-photography-promotion-spring-2010.html

  • David N

    Thanks – there is food for thought here.
    The ‘Mom view’ in this article, or the a child’s eye view has got me windering about the actual view someone or something else may have. With Google Earth, we’re used to bird’s-eye views, but how about a worm-eye view of the garden; or a fish-eye view of an angler, line and rod – without a mockup, of course ;)
    It would involve choosing elements of the composition to convey who/what you are as the ‘viewer’.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/42720776@N02/ Darren Mc

    The main reason I was given a DSLR 1.5 years ago was to take photos of our new Daughter, and the overhead view pictures I have taken have been lots of fun.

    One other tip with POV is to consider perspective distortion to your benefit. Great shots can be taken using a very wide lens up close which makes the close parts of your subject larger than life.

    In this triptych image I was very close and very wide which made our daughters head large and her body smaller, emphasising her changing expressions. See larger image here

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/42720776@N02/4137542493/' title='Toddler Transition' url='http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2775/4137542493_b1c4d98cd9.jpg']

  • http://www.sayaberjalan.co.cc Nando Tampubolon

    i think number 4 and 6 are really cool..Im thingking to try these tips..

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/maheshgarg/4406482898/ Mahesh Garg

    file:///D:/my%20files/pictures/other%20cam/family/avani%20%20n%20aniee/Avani/26112007(003).jpg
    I certainly agree with this..this is a pic clicked of my daughter

  • http://ocallactionphotography.smugmug.com/ Craig Nelson

    This one was shot at at eye level…..

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/craigctnelson/4509464458/' title='Everything he's got' url='http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2765/4509464458_0304f6c96a.jpg']

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/rodri200000/ Rodrigo

    Hi,

    Different POV plus … plying with my lens !

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rodri200000/1271207381/in/set-72157594287900046/

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/rodri200000/1271207381/' title='chusma' url='http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1254/1271207381_ccd07eba77.jpg']

  • http://hollysissonphotography.com Holly

    I love shooting from above, some of my favourites (especially the first shot of my son, even though he looks angry!), are on my old blog: http://hollysissonphotography.blogspot.com/2007/10/halloween-has-come-early.html

    Love the angle, the painted face he did himself, and the out-of-focus leaves at his feet.

    Another favourite, from a family shoot, first photo of the boy: http://hollysissonphotography.blogspot.com/2007/10/b-family-shoot.html

    Love the strong blue, red, shot at a playground through a tube of tires.

  • Nikki

    I love playing with different views! Thanks for the opportunity to see how and why others choose an angle. One reason I like to shoot from the top: It isolates my kids and their situation, and hides any household clutter. :-)

    one of my favorites, my kids sometimes set up a nest for their afternoon nap: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2620/4164548988_2dfe720203_b.jpgeimg link=” title=” url=’http://farm3.static.flickr.com//4164548986_.jpg’]

  • Nikki

    I love playing with different views! Thanks for the opportunity to see how and why others choose an angle. One reason I like to shoot from the top: It isolates my kids and their situation, and hides any household clutter. :-)

    one of my favorites, my kids sometimes set up a nest for their afternoon nap: [img]http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2620/4164548988_2dfe720203_b.jpg[img]

  • http://www.g1mp3r.com Mark

    Thanks for the great tip!
    The reason why i bought my dslr is for me to shoot pictures for my wife and son.
    Hope to more great tips!

  • Jonathan Palmatier

    [eimg url='http://gallery.me.com/mapril/100786' title='100786'] the shot from below brings out her big personality, thanks!

  • http://www.thehigos.ca John

    Wish I had read this a week ago…I was at the park with my son, and he was making a sand castle (just a big pile of gravelly sand with twigs and leaves stuck in it.) I was sitting on the back of the bus watching him…I framed the shot, but it was boring. If I had thought of getting on top of the bus, and taking the down shot…that would have made it. A missed opportunity that won’t be repeated. Thanks for this site!

  • http://blog.admironphoto.com Mireille

    Great post with great tips. Photographing children I usually take the give it to them straight POV (see this example. But the examples in the post give a lot alternatives to experiment with.

    Thanks

  • Rina Minca

    Thank you for these tips. One of my favorite parts of photography is capturing things from a different point o view, so these tips really set my juices going.

    Thanks!

  • Max

    I love number 3 ‘Say Something’ it’s very striking….
    Quite new to this game what would be the best settings for capturing shots like this, mine are always over/under exposed or I just can seem to capture the colours right?!?

Some older comments

  • Max

    April 19, 2010 10:13 pm

    I love number 3 'Say Something' it's very striking....
    Quite new to this game what would be the best settings for capturing shots like this, mine are always over/under exposed or I just can seem to capture the colours right?!?

  • Rina Minca

    April 19, 2010 09:38 am

    Thank you for these tips. One of my favorite parts of photography is capturing things from a different point o view, so these tips really set my juices going.

    Thanks!

  • Mireille

    April 17, 2010 07:20 pm

    Great post with great tips. Photographing children I usually take the give it to them straight POV (see this example. But the examples in the post give a lot alternatives to experiment with.

    Thanks

  • John

    April 16, 2010 11:19 pm

    Wish I had read this a week ago...I was at the park with my son, and he was making a sand castle (just a big pile of gravelly sand with twigs and leaves stuck in it.) I was sitting on the back of the bus watching him...I framed the shot, but it was boring. If I had thought of getting on top of the bus, and taking the down shot...that would have made it. A missed opportunity that won't be repeated. Thanks for this site!

  • Jonathan Palmatier

    April 16, 2010 11:20 am

    [eimg url='http://gallery.me.com/mapril/100786' title='100786'] the shot from below brings out her big personality, thanks!

  • Mark

    April 16, 2010 07:38 am

    Thanks for the great tip!
    The reason why i bought my dslr is for me to shoot pictures for my wife and son.
    Hope to more great tips!

  • Nikki

    April 16, 2010 05:10 am

    I love playing with different views! Thanks for the opportunity to see how and why others choose an angle. One reason I like to shoot from the top: It isolates my kids and their situation, and hides any household clutter. :-)

    one of my favorites, my kids sometimes set up a nest for their afternoon nap: [img]http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2620/4164548988_2dfe720203_b.jpg[img]

  • Nikki

    April 16, 2010 05:08 am

    I love playing with different views! Thanks for the opportunity to see how and why others choose an angle. One reason I like to shoot from the top: It isolates my kids and their situation, and hides any household clutter. :-)

    one of my favorites, my kids sometimes set up a nest for their afternoon nap: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2620/4164548988_2dfe720203_b.jpg[eimg link='' title='' url='http://farm3.static.flickr.com//4164548986_.jpg']

  • Holly

    April 16, 2010 03:21 am

    I love shooting from above, some of my favourites (especially the first shot of my son, even though he looks angry!), are on my old blog: http://hollysissonphotography.blogspot.com/2007/10/halloween-has-come-early.html

    Love the angle, the painted face he did himself, and the out-of-focus leaves at his feet.

    Another favourite, from a family shoot, first photo of the boy: http://hollysissonphotography.blogspot.com/2007/10/b-family-shoot.html

    Love the strong blue, red, shot at a playground through a tube of tires.

  • Rodrigo

    April 16, 2010 01:46 am

    Hi,

    Different POV plus ... plying with my lens !

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rodri200000/1271207381/in/set-72157594287900046/

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/rodri200000/1271207381/' title='chusma' url='http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1254/1271207381_ccd07eba77.jpg']

  • Craig Nelson

    April 15, 2010 01:46 am

    This one was shot at at eye level.....

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/craigctnelson/4509464458/' title='Everything he's got' url='http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2765/4509464458_0304f6c96a.jpg']

  • Mahesh Garg

    April 14, 2010 11:23 pm

    file:///D:/my%20files/pictures/other%20cam/family/avani%20%20n%20aniee/Avani/26112007(003).jpg
    I certainly agree with this..this is a pic clicked of my daughter

  • Nando Tampubolon

    April 12, 2010 06:46 pm

    i think number 4 and 6 are really cool..Im thingking to try these tips..

  • Darren Mc

    April 12, 2010 12:25 pm

    The main reason I was given a DSLR 1.5 years ago was to take photos of our new Daughter, and the overhead view pictures I have taken have been lots of fun.

    One other tip with POV is to consider perspective distortion to your benefit. Great shots can be taken using a very wide lens up close which makes the close parts of your subject larger than life.

    In this triptych image I was very close and very wide which made our daughters head large and her body smaller, emphasising her changing expressions. See larger image here

    [eimg link='http://www.flickr.com/photos/42720776@N02/4137542493/' title='Toddler Transition' url='http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2775/4137542493_b1c4d98cd9.jpg']

  • David N

    April 12, 2010 05:45 am

    Thanks - there is food for thought here.
    The 'Mom view' in this article, or the a child's eye view has got me windering about the actual view someone or something else may have. With Google Earth, we're used to bird's-eye views, but how about a worm-eye view of the garden; or a fish-eye view of an angler, line and rod - without a mockup, of course ;)
    It would involve choosing elements of the composition to convey who/what you are as the 'viewer'.

  • Jason Collin Photography

    April 12, 2010 03:27 am

    The directly above the child perspective is a new one to me, not something I would think to do. I'll give it a try.

    This from below with the child up on a arcing playground ladder is a perspective I want to use more in the future:

    http://jasoncollinphotography.com/blog/2010/2/10/candid-child-photography-promotion-spring-2010.html

  • Jen at Cabin Fever

    April 12, 2010 02:05 am

    Very insightful! I particularly love the "mom's eye view". These Point of Views demonstrate how much an angle can really change the meaning of a photo! Thanks for sharing... I am going to be venturing into portrait photography (my first shoot will be children!) in the next couple of weeks so this is great reading.

    Cabin Fever in Vermont

  • Aisha

    April 12, 2010 01:35 am

    Hey thanks for this. I saw this just in time since I am about to photograph children for a magazine. :)

  • Mark Zelazoski

    April 12, 2010 01:10 am

    Great tips. I especially like shooting from above to really get the innocence of the child. Here is perhaps my best example: http://evilbearphotography.blogspot.com/

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