When I say, "Change your perspective." I'm not talking about the way you look at life (that would be a much deeper How-To blog post). No I am talking about changing your perspective in relation to the angle of your camera when you are taking pics of your kids. Perspective is a key element of connecting with the subject matter in photography. Richard Avedon used to photograph most of his subjects with the camera aimed to about the models waist level. This not only made sure for a proportionate photo (upper body vs. lower body), but it also gave the viewer a unique connection with his subjects. OK...so what does that mean when you are trying to photograph your 1 or 2 year old? Try to get down to their eye level. Being on their level will do several things for your photograph.
I'm not going to pretend that this is the easiest thing to do because kids are super mobile move quickly and when are 6'2"...like me...it can pose a problem to be mobile when you are crouching or even laying down to get the photo you want. This is where patience and M&M's come into play. Yeah, I know bribing your kids with candy probably isn't the healthiest thing, but if it means that they stay in one place for more than 3 seconds than I'm all for it. Of course most of you are probably way more flexible than I am and can probably crouch and duck walk along with your kids...just know that I am extremely jealous of you and no amount of yoga will allow me to do that. I can imagine what I look like when I am trying to photograph kids...You may not look pretty, but your photos will definitely attract a lot of attention.
Now that you know the rules of perspective you can go and break them. Yes, there are definitely times when you can bend or break the rules of photography. You will see this more in the next few weeks. For example you can break the rule of being on their level by going to another extreme...being directly over them. This perspective gives you a sense of how little they were at that age and can make for some pretty fun and silly photos. If you get close up on them and directly above them you will be making their heads large and their bodies small. That is just one example. Now I send you off to go play with perspective and getting really low and sometimes even really high up the next time you take some pics of your kids.
Here are a few examples that I have taken over the past few years that show getting down to their eye level.