Saturday, October 15, 2011

Kid Stuff

If you are more perceptive than I am, you might have noticed that there is occasional fly fishing content on this blog.  Such an observation might lead a person (not that I am referring to any type of spousal unit here) to the mistaken belief that all I do is fish.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  I only mostly fish.

Take this morning, for example.  I had the mandate opportunity to accompany my niece to her last soccer game of the season.  At six years old she is considerably better at fútbol than Uncle Fly to Water, so I brought along the camera to get a couple shots of her in action.

Whether it's team sports, fly fishing, or portraiture there are two basic fundamentals of composition that are helpful to keep in mind when photographing kids.

The first seems obvious but I'm surprised how often it's overlooked.  Children are classified scientifically as short people, or stubby sapiens if you want to get technical.  Adults taking pictures of kids usually don't bother to kneel or sit on the ground so as to shoot from eye level.  Dropping down will often result in the heartbreak of grass-stained jeans, but a level perspective gives the subject more prominence.

Secondly, as with most portraits, it's important to align the child's eyes with the upper third of the frame.  This is a fundamental of the Rule of Thirds that helps the viewer connect more intuitively to the subject.

Sarah - Team Lemonheads

This photo was taken at 8x optical magnification and f/5.6, which is well within the range of nearly all point & shoot cameras.  The reasons I like this image are purely compositional and result from several concious choices:
  • Positioning the camera at eye level
  • Including story-telling elements (expression, jersey, implied motion)
  • Excluding distracting elements (other players, chairs along the sideline, goal posts, etc.)
  • Alignment of the eyes along the upper third of the image (Rule of Thirds)
A repeatable recipe for fun kid shots is to get low, and simplify the image by leaving out anything that doesn't need to be there.

I really did have a great time at the game this morning and it was my privilege to be cheering for the Lemon Heads (as they call themselves).  For the most part I hardly thought about my Sage One 796-4 fly rod that needs to get bent very, very soon by some slab-like salmonids.


  1. Nice pic! Great advice for a shooting kids.

  2. taking kids pictures. Shooting kids is illegal in most countries.

  3. Thanks Jason - not sure if posts like this are helpful so glad to hear it was worth the read.