Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Shooting Your Children 101

Don't get excited here people...I'm talking about shooting as in shooting photos...as in capturing their darling little faces on film...only it's not film anymore. I have decided for your reading pleasure and my writing pleasure (I only like to write about stuff I like anyway...I know it's a little selfish) I am going to post a few series about how to get some really great photos of your kids. Yep without a fancy camera, studio lights or a gazillion props. All you need is a cute kid, a cute husband, a cute dog, or borrow your neighbors kid. (Just perhaps don't say it's because Jessica taught you how to shoot them...)

We are starting at the beginning. I mean the beginning...forget about shutter speed and f-stop and ISO (if you know what any of that stuff is anyway). We're going to the bare bones basics of shooting great kid photos.

Um...stop trying to make your kid pose and smile and look at you. By nature children do not sit still and smile and say cheese and it's weird to try and make them do that for a photo. Alright I know you want a few photos before they grow up of them smiling and looking but for now we are going to focus on letting them do something that is natural to them. Let them look at a book, or a small toy, or a dandelion. Anything to get their attention where they will sit in one spot for a moment. A great great photo op is to get them interested in looking at something outside of a window. The window keeps their attention and the natural light from a window cannot be beat when it comes to photographs. This technique not only works for busy toddlers but also for those school aged kiddos who are famous for the awful fake forced smile. Let them be themselves and catch their natural expressions.

When they are busy with whatever it is they are looking at/playing with/ you can snap some photos while they are engrossed in whatever they're doing. Then whistle or say their name or click your tongue or whatever until they glance up at you. Then shoot several photos of that soft look in their eyes when they're a teensy bit distracted. Trust me, it's worth it. Then if they want to continue to look at you, sing a little song or rhyme, or whatever and if they smile great, if not, you probably just got some fantastic shots anyway.

The second really basic thing I'm going to talk about is really really basic but it never fails to improve someone's photography skills. There is a saying in photography that if your photos are not good enough you're not close enough. I think this rule applies for most subjects but especially for babies/toddlers/kids/pets. In comparison to the background they are small things. So instead of zooming in with your camera actually walk closer to your subject. When you think you're close enough zoom in a little more and you probably have it. The best thing is to eliminate some of the background and anything else that is going to distract your from your focal point . Some of my very favorite photos that I've shot have actually cut off the top of the child's head but it is a perfect viewpoint to capture facial expressions and those eyes.

So I think that's enough for today but I'll think of more to add later. And if this bored you to death please leave me with a commment begging me to go back to talking about something...anything else.


Emily V. said...

I am super interested. I totally agree on the closeness issue. One of my all-time favorite pics of Brooks is of him with 1/2 of his face in the picture. I do want to know more about the f-stop, depth of field and iso speed eventally. I'm a sucker for good candid shots. Love your post, not boring at all. Who wouldn't want advice how to make their pictures better?????

Wanda May said...

Thanks a bunch....I need all the help I can get...and I love your Photos.

April said...

That is so interesting. I love taking pictures and I always want to capture that special look without spending a fortune on a camera that I don't know how to use. Thank you so much for posting this, keep it coming. Yes, I know nothing about all technical terms for camera settings, so thanks for the more simpler suggestions.

Brittany said...

Always wanting to know more about photography and how to get the best pics possible of my boys! :)
VERY INTERESTED in hearing more!

I always wonder about the AV node, ISO, f-stop....when to use, when not to use and how!

The Doyle Family said...

Very interesting and useful information! I would love to learn how to take some better pictures of my sweet boy that can't seem to be still for more than 2 seconds. Around here, if you're not super quick, you just miss out on a Kodak moment!