Lesson 16: Get down low (or up high) and look for off-center compositions

Shooting down low at your child's level gives a more immediate, intimate feeling.

Shooting down low at your child's level gives a more immediate, intimate feeling.

We’ve covered how to handle several types of light this week, so today we’re going to talk about another visual aspect of photography that can help you better tell the story of the moments you want to capture - composition. 
 
Composition is also a traditional “photography” topic and can be studied in quite a bit of depth. This is something we cover more in The Photosanity Intensive, but there are a few easy things you can bear in mind to improve the composition in your photos right away so that you are better capturing how it feels.

Put this into action now:

  • Get down low at your child’s level.  This is one of my favorite tips to give parents because it is really easy to do and can make such a difference in the emotional feeling of your photos.

    It is very natural to just take photos from whatever position you are in, standing or sitting, but if you get down low at your child’s level, not only is it likely that they will relate to you in a more connected way (you probably already use this as a parenting strategy when a child is upset or anxious) but you will also capture that feeling of intimacy in your photos, whether they are interacting with you or not.

    It really is a wonderful way to see and experience the world from your child’s vantage point too. 
     
  • Get up high. The opposite to meeting your child on their level of course would be to get very high and try shooting straight down. Of course, likely you will capture the top of your child’s head but this is a great way to capture artwork or building or other activities they are engaged in. 
     
  • Try different angles. I always say, capture the moment first, and then if it continues, try to improve on the capture. One way I like to do this is to try different angles - high, low, to one side, to the other, stepping forward, stepping back.  
     
  • Look for off-center compositions. This is another one of my favorite tips because the default approach is usually to put your child dead center in the middle of the photo. Putting them off center will create a much more interesting and dynamic composition.

Overall, experiment with the best way to capture what you are experiencing in the moment - use it as a way of heightening your awareness, being more present, and focusing on how it feels, not how it looks
 
Today’s photo prompt: Get down low and look for off-center compositions! 
Up next: Action day!

Note: I'll be giving you daily photo prompts to help you in your photo-a-day project but they are completely optional. Ultimately you should choose the photo for your project that best reflects what you most want to remember about the day.

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