Take hundreds of pictures. Working photographers take hundreds of pictures to end up with a few great ones. With digital it costs no more to take more, so get in the habit of shooting like crazy. Take several shots of the same setup, change your point of view, pick a different background, and grab some more.
Select the right setting. Most cameras have either a “sports” or “child” mode; both of these allow you to capture clear shots of fast-moving subjects by automatically increasing the shutter speed (look for an icon of a running man or a child.) If you have either, use it instead of the “auto” mode.
“Say monkey!” or “milkshake.” Asking your kid to shout “cheese” results in a, well, cheesy-looking grin. Try words that start with an M; they create a more pleasing expression. To get an infant smiling, tickle her lips with a tissue. And don’t forget about keeping it real — crying, pouting, and sleeping babies are adorable too.
Capture her/his personality. Some of the best pictures show who your child is, not just what he looks like. Bring out his favorite toys and quietly snap pictures as he plays, reads, or cuddles with the dog.
Rein ’em in. Place your squirmy toddler in a big wicker basket to stop her from wandering. If you have a couple of little ones, corral them in a wagon or a play yard. Not only will this keep everyone in place, they’ll likely find it amusing — at least for a few crucial minutes.
Go small. Babies are cute as a whole, but don’t forget about all those adorable little body parts. If your camera has a macro setting (look for the flower icon) use it to focus on a hand, a foot, an ear, or an elbow. It’ll help keep the photo from getting blurry. But you do need a perfectly still subject, so it works best for a sleeping baby or a toddler in a state of deep concentration. Action shots. To score amazing action shots, minimize the blur by trying to follow the movement with your camera, pausing when you snap. Or set up your shot a second ahead of your kid’s movement. For example, if your toddler is bouncing on the trampoline, focus on a point in midair before he gets there. Then start snapping like crazy so you capture him as reaches the spot.
Best time to photograph. Shoot in the early morning and late afternoon (before 10 a.m. and after 4 p.m.), when the sun is low. If you’re outside at other times, add a flash (set your camera on “fill” or “force flash” mode) to help soften features and fill in harsh shadows.
At night. Make sure you use the red-eye setting. If that doesn’t do the trick, try taping a scrap of tissue over the flash to diffuse the light.
Consider all the angles. Either crouch down at your kid’s level or get below him and shoot up. Looking down at your child will distort the perspective: Your kid will look as if he has a big head and small feet.
Move in. Most people end up too far away from the subject. Make sure you’re close enough by setting up your shot and then taking two giant steps forward.
Anya Coleman Child Photography
Servicing the entire Dallas-Fort Worth area, including Frisco, Plano, Allen, and Carrollton.
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