Step One for Taking Great Photos

There are so many places I could start when it comes to tips for taking great photographs.  So. Many. Places.  But let's start with something easy.  And when I say easy, I mean EASY.  Yet it's something that eludes even the best of us sometimes.  Are you ready?  Here it is:

Get on eye level with the person you are trying to photograph.  

See?  I told you it would be easy.  Yet this is something that, unless you have training as a photographer, you might not realize is an effective strategy for photographing people.  Parents and grandparents in particular fall into this trap, because they are tall.  Or, at least, taller than the tiny humans they tend to photograph!  But remember this:

Being eye level in a photograph is as important as having eye contact in a conversation. 

Listen, just don't look down on me with a camera, OK?!

Just like all of the rules in art (and in life), rules can be successfully broken in a myriad of different ways.  But unless you're trying to get all artsy fartsy with what you are trying to do, don't worry about breaking the rules.  If your goal is to better your skills and get good, consistent results, then following the rules is SAFE.  If your inner artist is cringing right now, don't fret and unsubscribe just yet!  We'll cover all sorts of ways you can set up a photograph that "breaks" this rule.  But for now, just accept that rules can be broken and move on. 

The following photographs would have been very easy to take from a standing, adult-height position, and doing so would have given me awkward results.  Instead I got on eye level with my children (and the princesses and fairy) and got much better photographs as a result.  

So now, go try it out.  Find a tiny human- such as a kid or my 4'11" sister-in-law- step back and snap their photograph.  Better yet, have them sit on the floor and play a game.  Take one photograph standing at a nearish distance, from the viewpoint of an observer.  Now get down on the ground and take a second shot putting your camera the same height as the kid's head.  Take a look at those pictures side-by-side.  Which do you prefer?