Having 2 active and I really mean moving non-stop kids, it’s a constant challenge to take good and clear photos of them.
Stole a few Child Photography tips from some websites and put it to use. 2 parts to understand:
Photographing Children – Settings
Looking at some tips on how to set your camera.
Aperture Priority Mode – personally I feel this is the best mode to shoot in as it gives me the control over Depth of Field (DOF) which is quite important on portraits. If your camera do not have Aperture Mode, you can choose Portrait mode too. I will usually set my aperture at f/5.6 which will throw the background out of focus (blur) and yet the face will be in focus. Actually most of my kids photos are shot in this mode and aperture.
ISO – for me I will set it normally to 200 for outdoor and 600 for indoor. Just need to take note if you keep a lower ISO for indoor in Aperture Mode, the shutter speed will be slower, a greater chance your hand will shake and the photo will be blur. Play around to see the difference.
Focus Mode – set your auto focus to single point focussing. That’s because kids tend to move a lot and with multipoint focussing you may not get the right focus point at times.
Photographing Children – The Shoot
Photographing children is all about ease and comfort. If your kids are not comfortable during the shoot, they will not want to cooperate. Try to show your kids what you are shooting, get them involved, maybe allow them to take a few shots if they are old enough. This will ensure them that Daddy is having fun with them.
Location – vary the venue you take the photos. If your child is bored, the photos will not turn out as good. On the contrary, if they are excited about the place, the joy and smile on their faces will be priceless. For me, I like to bring the children outdoors, the element of surprise is greater.
Candid Approach – get the children to enjoy what they are doing and start snapping off. Occasionally you can request them to pose for you, but natural is beauty, I stand by that all the time.
Posing Approach – I can only do this with my elder daughter, she will understand what I want and pose as requested. Younger kids will not have the attention span for such shots.
Go To Their Level – you are almost twice the height of the kids. So go down to their level, see the world with their ‘eyes’. This will result in a more intimate feel.
Alter Your Perspective – don’t just shoot from a certain angle or level. Break the traditional rule, try creative ways of shooting a picture. From above, below, behind an clear window, through a hole, etc..
Zoom In – ever tried to take a shot so close you feel like almost you can feel their breath in the photo? This type of shots can be done if you have a good zoom lenses, if not you have to just move your legs and get closer. Just remember one thing, make sure that the child dominates the shot rather than the environment.
Focus On A Certain Body Part – switch on your single point focus, you want that particular part to be in focus and the rest of the photo out of focus. Point your viewer to the focus you want them to see, a photo without a focus will just be another picture people will flip pass and forget.
Background – look out for strong contrasting background to frame your photos. You will find the photo surprisingly captivating.
Shoot In Burst Mode – switch your camera to multi-shot mode (where the camera shoots a lot of shots fast). String the photos together and see the cuteness of your kids.
Having said all, the most important thing in Children Photography is GO OUT AND TAKE THE SHOTS!