If you have just bought a new camera for taking photos of your kids, you might be a bit overwhelmed by all the fancy dials and controls. Not to worry, though. Those fancy dials are what makes these cameras useful for so many things, even if you are just planning to use them for personal photos and for taking photos of your kids. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your new camera and shooting your kids.
1. Work with a prime lens.
This applies to DSLR cameras, some of which now come in small, compact builds that really appeal to busy moms. There are many cheap prime lenses out there that can help you take really good shots of your kids as they do things around the house, like helping you bake, color, or as they wake up from a good night’s sleep. Prime lenses are great options because they let a good amount of light in, allowing you to take great photos even if you are using a fast shutter speed. Prime lenses also perform well in low light, allowing you to play with different sources of light, like candles and decorative bedroom hanging lights, without having to worry about the quality of the images. You can buy a cheap 50mm prime lens for lens than $100 and this can serve as your all-around go-to fast lens for taking photos of your kids. The Yongnuo YN50mm f/1.8 II is listed for $73 on Amazon – please note, I have never used this lens and this is for a Canon mount. Be sure your lens is compatible with your camera before you buy!
2. Use a fast shutter speed.
A fast shutter speed is your main tool to capture kids as they run and jump around. Faster shutter speeds can capture moving objects and freeze their actions for dynamic shots. Most cameras have a Sports Mode or you can manually increase the shutter speed if you are on Manual mode. A shutter speed of 1/250 is often good enough for freezing your kids mid-action. Faster shutter speeds are not only great for taking sports photos, such as your boy hitting that home run, but also for capturing goofy, split-second facial expressions that most kids are so good at.
3. Don’t be afraid to go down to their level.
Varying points of view can give you fun and interesting photos. The great thing about kids is that they get themselves into all sorts of situations as they play or do stuff around the house, and these situations are great opportunities to take shots from different angles for truly creative images. Don’t be afraid to crouch down low to take eye-level snaps, or even lower to take a shot looking up for a different perspective.
4. Use the features in your house to achieve creative framing, foregrounds, and backgrounds.
The great thing about using a DSLR or a consumer camera with manual controls is that you have all this flexibility when it comes to taking creative shots, even inside your home. You can use pillows, a potted plant, or the edge of a wall, for example, to create a blurry foreground while taking a photo of your kid doing his thing on the bed or in the living room. Have your child stand a few feet away from the wall for a creative, bokeh effect in the background. Use the windows to create an instant photographic frame. All these are easy to do and can be tweaked to give you a wide variety of creative snapshots.
Photos of your kids will last a lifetime and, in some cases, may be the only things that will help them remember the wonderful memories of their childhoods. Knowing how to take great photos can go a long way in creating these beautiful images that your kids can cherish as they grow older.
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