For many parents, capturing kids in the throes of a happy childhood is a prerogative. These early stages of life are, of course, the ones both you and your kids will cherish most as you grow older together. It’s as they say – you’ll only regret the photos you didn’t take!
The actual taking-the-photo bit, though, can present as a real challenge for parents new to the art of the action-shot. So how can you take the perfect photo of your children while they’re racing – running, playing, laughing, learning – through life? If you’re keen to learn how to fill the photobook with quality shots while keeping things candid, give the below tips a read.
Invest In a Decent Camera
Rather than relying on a pixelly phone camera to take and store all of your photos, why not invest from the start in a purpose-built digital camera? Ask your local camera store service person for their recommendations as to which motion-capture model to buy – they’ll be sure to fit you out with exactly the right equipment, and once that’s done, you should ideally have to do little more than adjust the settings, point and shoot.
Utilize Your Camera’s Settings
There are a few camera settings you’ll want to get a handle on before taking your photos. These include the burst function (which will enable you to take a full series of shots with one click), and of course the good old self-timer option (for those hands-free occasions).
Furthermore, make sure to opt for a higher shutter speed to guard against the dreaded blur, and to fix the depth of field by switching your camera to Aperture Priority mode (portrait mode in some cameras).
You’d be surprised how self-conscious some kids can become once they realize they’re being watched by the parental paparazzi. Rather than overwhelming them with close-range shots and a blinding flash, keep your practice subtle; let your kid go about his or her life, and make use of the zoom function of your camera.
Plan Your Setting
You may want to think in advance about which activities will be more conducive to interesting shots. For example, a trip to the zoo or a teddy bear picnic will yield interesting environments for you to capture, as well as buckets of fun for your young subjects. If you can get other people involved, that’s even better. Adversity of ages and stages can make for a beautiful shot, and these adult actors can help to further distract your kids from the operations of the camera.
Another strategy for getting your kids more comfortable around the camera is for you, the photographer, to get low to the ground. Being on the same level as your kids makes the photoshoot more of a game-like experience for your child, and you’ll be able to achieve more aesthetically-interesting angles.
Never underestimate the value of after-shot editing! The crop function will allow you to cut out any background distractions, and you can also muck around with things like white balance if your original lighting wasn’t ideal. Try a black-and-white tint for a pro-photography look!
Don’t Get Too Caught Up In Perfection
You’re likely reading this because you want to do a better job than the average doting parent. Sometimes, though, the best photos are the ones taken spontaneously, with no forethought for language or aperture scale. So why not just buy a disposable or instant camera and see what gems result when the film’s developed?! That’s what the magic of photography’s all about.
Johanna Cider is a New Zealand-based freelance writer. She has written informative articles on parenting and lifestyle. You can read more of her work on her Tumblr.