10 Easy Ways To Improve Your Family Photographs
self help article
by Colleen Moulding
Self Help photography, hobbies, family recreation, Happiness article:
PHOTOGRAPH YOUR CHILDREN
1. Get to know your camera.
Half an hour spent reading the instruction book and getting to know
what your camera can do, really will be time well spent.
Practice using the camera without film until you feel
confident with the controls. Practice holding the camera
very firmly when pressing the shutter, as any movement
will result in a blurred picture.
Tucking your arms tightly
into your body helps to avoid this. Or look around for
something to support the camera. A wall, a ledge, seat
or tree branch would be ideal.
2. Get in close.
Fill the viewfinder with your subject
and you are sure to improve your pictures. A
telephoto or zoom lens is obviously the easiest way
to do this but even with a compact camera you can
usually get much closer than you think.
instruction book. Getting down to your child’s level will
make this easier and and improve the shot too.
3. Look carefully at the background.
We’ve all seen photographs of people with lamp posts or telegraph
poles growing out of their heads, but it’s the less obvious
background muddles that often ruin pictures.
on the line in the garden or clutter on the sofa or table.
Change your position if you cannot change the child’s.
4. Turn the camera round.
Taking the picture with your
camera in the vertical position can be an easy way to cut
out a lot of unnecessary background and give you more
of the child in the shot.
If using your camera this way up
feels strange, practice without film until it feels
Using your camera in this position avoids a lot of cut off
heads and feet too.
5. Photograph children in their natural environment.
Pictures taken in their bedrooms surrounded by toys,
crawling out of their den in the garden or hanging from
the climbing frame in the park are much more likely to
be successful than formally posed shots in their best
clothes perched on the edge of the sofa.
them when they’re grubby and scruffy as well as in
their Sunday best.
6. Become invisible.
The very best natural, unposed
pictures will be taken when your child is totally unaware
of your existence. This can be achieved by the use of a
telephoto or zoom lens or just by being so quiet that they
forget about you.
If this is impossible, the other trick is to
talk to them about what they are doing, thus turning their
attention back to the activity and away from the camera.
If you feel that flash lights will frighten your baby or distract your child, use a fast film, 400 or higher, and you should be able to take photographs indoors in a fairly bright room without flash.
Side lighting from a window can be effective but don’t
place your children directly in front of a window or their faces
will be in shadow.
7. Sea, sand and sky.
Is there anything more depressing
than getting back the prints of your family on that paradise
beach to find them all pictured as black silhouettes against
a perfectly exposed sky?
This happens because the large
amount of back light tricks the camera’s exposure meter into
thinking that the whole scene is receiving lots of light, but as
we have seen, faces are in shadow.
The only way to correct
this is to use fill in flash to lighten the shadows, or a large
piece of white card, held just out of shot, to reflect light
back on to the faces.
Check your instruction book again as some
cameras have a back light compensation switch especially to
help solve this problem.
Avoid shooting at midday as this is
when the shadows will be harshest. Try to move your child
so that the light falls from the side if possible.
8. Dressing up.
Having a few props ready can make for a
fun session. Hats are a favourite with children, but shawls,
flowers, baskets and dressing up clothes as well as toys and
teddies will all help you compose interesting pictures,
especially when children do the unexpected with them!
Don’t necessarily go for a smile on every shot, try to capture
a whole range of expressions.
9. Sports and action shots.
There are two ways of
photographing action. The first is to use a high shutter
speed which, like flash, will effectively freeze the motion,
giving a sharp picture but losing the sense of movement.
The second method is panning, or following the child with
the camera. Focus on the spot where your child will be
arriving and follow the action with the camera, pressing
the shutter very smoothly and keeping the pan going for
a few seconds afterwards.
This results in a sharp picture
of your child but with a streaked background giving a much
better feel of the action. Remember it is easier to photograph
motion that is coming towards you than passing by in front.
10. Collecting your prints from the processor need not be
the end of the story.
Why not have your prints enlarged
so that you can hang them on the wall and enjoy them
every day. Or scan them into your computer and set
them as wallpaper or make them into screensavers.
If there is a problem with Aunt Sally’s slippers in the
left hand corner, many processing houses offer selective
enlargements where they will just enlarge the part you want.
It is also possible to have your photographs printed on to a
paper that gives the look of a painting on canvas, or you can
have pictures made into posters, puzzles, table mats, even
mugs and plates.
(c) Colleen Moulding 2000
Colleen Moulding is a freelance writer living in the south of England. She is also owner/editor of All That Women Want.com http://www.allthatwomenwant.com
a magazine, web guide and resource for women everywhere.
We Know What You Want! Home, Parenting, Women’s Biz,
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