Dad Quick Tip: Taking photos of your kids

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Here are a few tips I wanted to pass on about taking photos of your kids (especially the younger set). Most of these are not anything new, and can be found elsewhere, but are things that I have found useful. Please note that I work strictly in digital, so I cannot guarantee all these tips translate to film.

(Tips after the jump…)

Tips for taking photos of your kids

  1. Take photos at their level. A lot of parents have a whole collection of pictures looking down at their kids. While I have a few great shots from this perspective, as well as looking up at them, I find a majority of my favorite pictures come when I get down to their level.
  2. If you have burst mode, use it. While burst mode will usually disable your flash, it is worthwhile, especially with a digital camera, where you can easily dispose of blurry pictures. I’ve found that if you can take 5 or 6 pictures in a couple of seconds, especially once your child first starts moving around and does not want to sit still, there’s a good chance one of them will come out. Even if all of them come out, at least you have slight variations to choose from, or a nice sequence of photos. One of my favorite sequence is my wife leaning over our daughter while she is on the bed, leaning down to kiss her, then, after the kiss, the baby smiling. These work good when creating movies from still photos, as well (another post, another time).
  3. Using the “rule of thirds” can get you some interesting shots. There are a lot of sites which better explain this. I found a short, simple example here. Basically, you try not to keep your subject in the exact center of the frame.
  4. Take candid photos. It allows you to capture your kid being a kid.
  5. Never, ever let your child view the photos on the camera. If you kid is anything like mine, everytime you take out the camera after that, all s/he will want to do is see the pictures on the camera. This makes it impossible to get any pictures once they see the camera. Load them onto the computer or print them out, first.
  6. Get a basic photo editing tool. If you have a Mac, you have it made with iPhoto. You can greatly improve on your digital photos by adjusting the brightness/contrast, applying a sharpening filter, or cropping. Unless you are a Pro (and sometimes even then), ever picture can be improved upon.
  7. Take a lot of pictures. Off-load them to CD or DVD if you have to, but better to have a lot to choose from, than not enough good ones.

These are a few tips I’ve learned over the years. If anyone has any other good tips, feel free to share them!

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One Response to Dad Quick Tip: Taking photos of your kids

  1. EB says:

    Greetings!

    You’re very right about these. Especially taking photos at their level unless you have a very good reason not to.

    I would add a few…

    1) Learn your camera’s focusing tricks. In your closeups, make sure you’re getting the eyes in focus.

    2) Avoid using the flash, except as “fill” flash to help reduce shadows in outdoor daylight. Learn how to manually set your camera’s ISO setting for lower light situations. Steady hands! (Brace yourself!)

    3) Most cameras now are 4-8 megapixels. Shoot at a high resolution, and use good cropping to trim out excess. (This is much better than using the zoom on a lot of cameras.) Good cropping is the one thing that almost anybody can learn to do in three minutes, and it really makes the picture if you do it well.

    4) If a picture doesn’t work in color, but it’s well-composed, try switching it to black and white. Sometimes an “almost” picture becomes a winner.

    (Kaz: These are very good, though some I might put as “after you master these, try these” type of hints. The focus is a very important one. I once took a picture of my daughter standing amoungst the branches of our (very young) cherry tree while it was in bloom. It is a great picture, and everyone loves it. However, if you look closely, you will notice the focus is actually on a branch right in front of her, rather than her face. Still a great photo, but it irks me.)

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