Photographing children

Boy and bubblesGetting good pictures of children is often easier said than done. We offer techniques and camera settings to help you take better photos of those precious little ones.

Two of the most important things to remember: be patient and take plenty of shots.

One of the secrets of success for professionals who photograph children is that they use “baby handlers.” Don’t rule out asking someone to assist when taking photos of a child. An assistant can help in many ways such as focusing a child’s attention so the youngster is ready when you are.

Single and group shots

When taking close-up photos, shoot at or near the eye level of the child. Focus the camera on the eyes.

Girl with flowerCapture memorable moments by photographing a child when he or she is doing something, not simply posing. Capture priceless moments by taking photos when the child is unaware you’re doing so.

Fill the frame when photographing a child. This helps eliminate distracting backgrounds and draws attention to the subject.

When taking a group photo, have children stand as close together as possible. In a group shot, the cameras automatic settings may not pick the best place to focus. Prefocus on the eyes of a youngster in the middle of the group, then recompose if necessary.

Digital camera settings

Unless a child is asleep, he or she will be on the go. Use a fast shutter speed between 1/250 – 1/1000 seconds. Faster shutter speeds help freeze the action rather than capture motion blur. If you can not manually adjust the shutter on your camera, switch to a fast shutter-speed scene mode such as Kids & Pets or Sports.

Lighting the subject

BabyWhen taking photos inside, place the child near diffused light as it comes through a window or door. Resulting images will look more natural, without the harshness that can result when using a built-in camera flash.

Using a flash

When using a flash, stay within the recommended range. Don’t stand too close or too far away.

Even when using a flash, turn on additional room lights or let outside light in. Change the white balance settings to match the predominant source of lighting in the room.

To the extent possible, avoid shooting in the direction of backgrounds with shiny objects such as high-gloss furniture, mirrors and windows. They reflect the bright light back into the lens and can mess up an otherwise fine photo.

Shoot away

Take plenty of shots. You may only get a few good photos out of every 20 you take. If so, consider the job well done!

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