When you are photographing a growing family, you usually end up with a few kids who are shorter than the rest. This can sometimes look awkward. You know the photo…. Dad’s head is at the top of the image and preschool boy’s head is just sneaking on the bottom. Or worse, someone bends their knees to get their head closer to the rest, and then just looks all uncomfortable and miss-proportioned.

To compensate for this, try using a prop. In this photo I used an old milk crate. It blended in nicely with the set, which was my goal. (I prefer props to not draw too much attention to themselves and look authentic to the set. I’ll talk about that in a post someday.) By having the shortest child stand on the crate, I brought the focal points closer to the center of the image.

Other ways to compensate for height differences in family photos with children:
-Have everyone sit down.
-Hold smaller children on hips and pose them on outside (so they don’t get hidden in shadows). Here’s an example or like this.

-Sit on a couch like this

Does your child have a plush lovie? One of my boys has a hippo. (The other had a blanket.) He, Hippo, was actually lost for a year (behind the dresser) and was recently reunited with his owner, but I digress.

I love the idea of photographing with items of special importance. Grandma’s hankie in the hand of a bride, mom’s mixing bowl and a child covered in batter… in this case, a special bear.

Photo credit: Ange de Lamour

When I took this photo a few years ago, I had scouted out the site and saw this huge tree. I knew I wanted to include it in the shoot. Rather than have the children pose next to it and look at the camera, I asked them to look up. Mostly cooperative, we ended up with this fun shot. And an illustration of the rapid growth of children.

My challenge to you:
Look at objects differently. Stray from the ease of photographing your subject standing next to a monument, cool car, costumed character. Instead encourage them to interact with it.