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Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

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Taking candid portraits of children with a SLR


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One of the hardest and certainly the most challenging snapshots are those of children. While we all love and adore our children it is difficult to not get frustrated or annoyed at their ability to prevent those perfect moments from being captured for eternity.

We have compiled a quick guide on how you can record more of your child’s childhood and refrain from gaining grey hairs in the process.

Get Down to their level:

What this means is when you take pictures of a child you want to have the camera at their eye level. What this does is firstly keep their body in proportion, photos from above tend to cause the child’s head to seem much larger than the rest of their bodies. This then causes the photo to depict the child as being much smaller than they actually are.

The correct way to take photos of your child from close range is to get down to their level, albeit if you need to kneel or sit or even go lower. By doing this, your photo will depict the true size of the child while at the same time giving you a perfect picture for any frame.

Use the correct lenses for children:

Firstly let’s discuss the three normal lenses range:

  1. Wide Angle Lenses are between 11mm and 28mm these lenses make a wider picture which can lead to prominent facial features from being distorted such as ones Nose. We all know how much people hate a Nosey person!
  2. Telephoto Lenses which are 200mm and above, these lenses tend to create bland photos with facial features. They cause the facial features to become much more “flatter” than they really are.
  3. Finally we get to what is considered the standard or Normal Lenses. These lenses are between 50mm and 100mm and provide the perfect about of “flatness” combined with just the right size nose.

In the end the standard or normal lenses will provide the most natural photo of a child.

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The faster the shutter speed the better:

Taking photos of children require a much faster shutter speed than that of scenery, namely because as I am sure you are well aware children never keep still.

A slow shutter speed will cause motion blur and ruin photos. A shutter speed faster than 1/125th of a second will easily capture the child in any activity and create a clear photo.

If you cannot get 1/125th of a second or faster shutter speed, an alternative is to wait for the action to peak. For example if the child is on a seesaw take photos at either the top or bottom rather than in the middle.

Have too many photos rather than too little:

One of the biggest mistakes people make is taking photos they want only to discover that they had a thumb over the lenses or that an external factor has led to the photo being unusable. Always take five more than you need. At worst case you have more photos to share with your family and friends and at best you have ensured you will have at least one photo that you wanted.

Toys are perfect for natural poses:

By providing the child with a prop, it can range from a puzzle to a rocking horse; you guarantee yourself photos of the child in their natural and relaxed pose. This means better photos as the child will become engrossed in the prop and forget you are even there taking photos that will one day embarrass them in front of friends and partners.

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