using angles to create storytelling images
Hello again, friends! Last month we talked all about photographing the smaller moments or pieces in the picture to tell the story. I am going to continue with that theme, but today I am going to show you how to use three different angles to do the storytelling. Let’s jump in.
Oftentimes I get parents telling me that they feel as if their everyday snapshots of their kids are “boring.” We all can feel this way at times. What might be surprising though is how easy it is to fix. It’s a simple process to creating more storytelling imagery at home. It’s all about adjusting your angle.
I think as parents we are presented with moments happening in front of us that need to be documented, so we grab the camera, do our duty as Mom or Dad, snap the picture, and rest easy knowing that it will be a photo that little Suzy can look back at the first time she cut her own hair and laugh about it. However, I think it’s very easy to fall into this habit – simply just pushing a button. Don’t get me wrong… not every photo you take needs to be a huge production, but by applying three different angles, you can create more storytelling imagery right at home and with any type of camera you have available. The three angles I always go by, even in my professional work when documenting kids, are from below, from above, and straight on. Let me break each of these down.
ANGLE #1: FROM BELOW
I always aim for creating images that will allow my children to truly remember their childhood and what it was like being a kid. The best way to do this is from their point of view. From the image above, you can see that I was following behind my daughter as she climbed the stairs. This was an exercise that she had just recently discovered and I wanted to make sure to document it.
I could have simply stood at the foot of the stairs and snapped the picture. You would see her face, the entire stairway, and probably more of the house, but do you remember those “boring” family photographs? This is where it starts! By not worrying about getting her face in the picture, I lowered myself to her level and it allowed me to document her tiny feet (not to mention that cute bum!) working hard to get up the stairs. This is an image that she can look at later and get a pretty good idea at what being a baby was all about. It allows her to tell her story.
ANGLE #2: FROM ABOVE
This next angle is going to be from our point of view as the parent. We all know how quickly raising kids happens and we want to make sure we are documenting our story from our point of view, as well, to enjoy and remember later. From the picture below, you can see that I adjusted my position to be at the top of the stairs this time. This angle allows me to document my version of this moment and also gives a completely different look to the entire series of images. Looking back at this photograph reminds me of watching my kids as babies growing, learning, and discovering.
ANGLE #3: STRAIGHT FORWARD
And, of course, nothing beats a classic portrait. This is an opportunity to document their essence. You get a clear look at the eyes which allows the viewer to be pulled in, and this angle, while simple, is still a strong piece in telling the story.
In looking at the image, you get a clear sense of my daughter’s personality and what a happy baby she was and still is. It documents her as an individual and gives us that traditional picture that everyone will love to see.
As you go throughout your daily life and find those moments to pull out the camera, remember these three angles: from below, from above, and straight on. These three simple angles will give your daily photographs more of an artistic edge. They will be photographs that both you as the parent and your child can connect with. They will be photographs that instantly pull you back into that moment.
Remember that documenting daily life is so much more than documenting the “big picture.” It’s about the smaller pieces and different views that create beautiful photographs.