Get Grounded: Using the Ground as a Photo Prop

I don't know about you, but all the helpful advice in last week's Ask a Photographer series has energized me to finally learn how to use my camera. Once I've got a better handle on at least the basics I can't wait to play around and indulge my desire to create some staged photos of my son. One idea that may be trendy, but for good reason is to change perspective, let your imagination run wild and use the ground as your backdrop.

1 The first time I came across this idea was in one of my earliest Ohdeedoh posts (waaay back in 2007) about German photographer Jan von Holleben and his Dreams of Flying photo series which he had been making since 2002 with kids in his neighborhood. (Later that year they were released as a book.) You can see the series of thirty photos on von Holleben's website and don't miss the many, many terrific fan photos (and two videos) which you can see in this section of his site and more on Flickr.

2 Using the ground in photos of babies makes perfect sense especially when they are too young to sit up by themselves and yet too young to crawl away out of view. This birth announcement created by Ava Geburi featuring a balloon-holding baby "floating" away is a perfect example.

3 Jillian who blogs at Three for the Road, ran with this idea, too, and teamed up with photographer friend Lucas Harger to make some sweet images of her son Cash, seen above flying a kite. Check our more photos styled by Jillian at Three for the Road and see how mom and dad got into the photos too.

4 It's a little early to start planning your holiday cards, but file this idea away if you're expecting and will have an infant this December. Reader Jessi shared this adorable photo of her daughter Isla relaxing in a huge Christmas stocking.

5 Several years ago J.Crew put the ground to good use in a holiday ad campaign. Using chalkboard paint opens up so many illustrative possibilities. You could try this idea using chalk outdoors in your driveway or on a sidewalk. If you're an apartment dweller, head to your local playground and climb up the slide to get the right perspective.

Probably the best know riff on this idea in the kids design blogosphere is Adele Enerson's photos of her infant daughter Mila. They became an overnight internet sensation and an overwhelmed Adele has asked that they no longer be circulated. Harper Collins has turned the photos into a book, When My Baby Dreams, due out next January.

(Images: 1. Jan von Holleben 2. Ava Geburi 3. Lucas Harger 4. Jessi Cardello Welch 5. Maxwell Gillingham Ryan)

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As Apartment Therapy's Family Editor, Carrie covers design and modern homelife with children. A lapsed librarian, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two kids and is in contention to break the record for most hours spent at the playground.