Behind the Lens :: Rock the Angles


In this day and age, not only do most of us adults know how to take a picture, but even our kids are jumping on the photography bandwagon.  I absolutely love seeing a 5 year old girl snapping pictures of her parents making silly faces.  Or the 10 year old boy photographing ducks at the lake while his parents wait patiently.

What I find so fascinating is that very often you’ll see these kids working the angles of the shot!  They’re standing on chairs and squatting in mud and crawling on concrete.  Above all…they aren’t afraid to get dirty in order to get on their subject’s level.   

As adults, we eventually lose that child-like, carefree attitude of not worrying about how silly we may look or if we get dirty when we take a picture.  Let’s go back to not caring.  Let’s talk about getting low and dirty in order to  rock the angles of your pictures!

Get Low

When you look at a picture, I’m willing to bet that you want to see something different and unique; perhaps a new perspective on something you see often or a super close up of something you see from afar everyday.  That’s what using angles is all about.

It’s about putting a spin on the obvious shot.  

Think about the number of pictures of you’ve seen of kids.  Most of the time the adult is standing, the kids are sitting and the camera is angled downward to face the kids.  Sometimes this shot works great, sometimes it’s just plain boring.

We see our kids every day by gazing down at them, so what if instead we looked for a less obvious angle?  If you’re in the mood to change it up for a new perspective, get low.

Get eye level with your kids, and even lower if you can.   Sit on the floor with them, lay on your belly in the grass, play “airplane” with their little bodies flying on the soles of your feet. Find an angle of your child’s face you don’t see every day.

Getting eye level with them can also make them feel more comfortable, which could be really helpful when trying to capture their sweet smiles.  I photographed the children below by getting as close to the earth as I could.  Putting myself as low, if not lower than they were. If your daughter is passed out on the couch in her tutu, kneel down really low, lower than the couch even, and take a picture of her cheek sweetly smashed into the cushion.  That new angle can make all the difference in your end result.

mel marie photography

mel marie photography

Get Dirty

C’mon parents.  We’ve all heard it:  “God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt.”

Terrible grammar?  Yes.  Is there still a lesson there?  Yep.

Getting on your kid’s level often means sitting in a sand box or standing knee deep in lake water.  Do it! Our kids are often the happiest when they’re filthy and covered in nastiness.  If getting an amazing shot of that happiness is important to you, then don’t be afraid to slide your toes, feet and ankles  in mud in order to get the best shot.  

If you want a close up of your sweet baby sleeping on a blanket in the grass, get on your belly next to her and focus on her beautiful eyelashes.  If your child is standing in a field of wild flowers, get on your knees or belly so the tall grass is in the forefront of your shot showing just how tall the grass really is.  When I took the image below I was on my belly in wet leaves.  I was a mess afterwards, but it worked!  I was able to capture all three of their beautiful smiles from that angle.

I promise you this, 10 years from now you won’t remember getting dirt on your best pair of jeans or ruining a good pair of shoes. What you will remember is the pure and simple sweetness of your child in that moment.

mel marie photography

Get close

As a parent of a 16 year old boy, I can tell you this with all honesty:  kids do not want you all up in their business, or their faces, forever.  This is shocking news, I know.

Therefore, my advice is this: get CLOSE now, while you still can.  When you’re little one is staring intently at Curious George or Doc McStuffins, get as close as you can and snap a shot.  Sure, they may turn and look at you like you’re crazy for a minute. Get used to that look and consider it practice for their teenage years.

If you’re intentionally trying to capture a close-up moment, engage them with something brand new so their attention is fully on that object and nothing else.  Or (gasp!) give them something they’re typically not allowed to play with.  For example, the TV remote, your keys, or a kitten.  Kidding!

When their attention is locked in on something other than being photographed, you have an amazing opportunity to get closer than ever to get some seriously beautiful details: gazing eyes, tiny plump lips and cheeks,  Michelin Man arms and thighs.   It doesn’t get much sweeter than that, so don’t be afraid to get as close as you can. You know, until you start getting the “OMG!  WHAT are you DOING?!” attitude from them.

mel marie photography

mel marie photography

Give it a shot!  Find a new angle, a new perspective before snapping away.  Return to your child-like ways and don’t worry about getting dirty.  Relax and have fun with your images and your kids. Try not to get frustrated if it doesn’t happen for you right away.  Just keep at it and eventually it will become second nature.

Shoot me an email at [email protected] or leave a comment below letting me what you struggle with the most or what you’d like me to share.  I’d love to hear from you!



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