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Children & Families Photography

Photographing landscapes

Children are one of the most popular subjects for photography. You don’t want to lose out on those precious moments, and photography is the best way of ensuring that. Here are a few tips to help you get the best photos possible:

Make Taking Pictures of Your Children Fun for Everyone

Is there anything more painful than being forced to sit down, pose, and say “cheese?” Maybe we’re being a bit dramatic, but it’s rarely enjoyable, and it’s the last thing a child wants to do. But then how do you take pictures of them? Why not bring them somewhere fun: a park, the beach, the woods. You could even just let them play in their room. Let’s say you were a wildlife photographer. You wouldn’t catch a deer, dress it up, and make it pose in a chair, right? Why not apply that same line of thinking to our kids? With this in mind, a child’s natural habitat is any place where they’re having fun. Letting them run wild on playground equipment will not only result in unusual, interesting angles, but also plenty of natural smiles.


Plus, a natural setting can make for a beautiful background. Instead of sitting your kids down in front of the Christmas tree, why not let them play with it. Maybe have them decorate it, or open a few presents in front of it. The more fun your children are having, the better your pictures will be.


But really, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to photographing children. Just don’t be so serious about it. If you’re dealing with somebody very young, then try playing hide and seek behind the camera. Turn the LCD screen so that they can see themselves. It may inspire them to make silly poses which can make for great pictures. But of course, they’ll eventually settle down, and you’ll be able to get the calm shot you were hoping for.


And let’s not forget about props! A toy, a chair, the family cat - all of these can add to a photo. Years from now, when they’re all grown up, your children will look back on these pictures with fondness, recalling what made their childhood so special.


Above all, the most important thing is to be patient. Sometimes it takes a while for children to relax, and they are quick to pick up on your frustration.



The key to getting a good picture of a child is getting up close without interfering in the action. Sure, you could just get physically closer to them, but this is distracting. A telephoto lens makes for a better choice. These days, even your standard point and shoot comes equipped with one. Just make sure that it comes with image stabilization, because the more you zoom in, the easier it is to get a blurred image, and image stabilization will help combat this. Especially when the subject is in motion.


Sometimes a wide angle lens can prove useful as well. A DSLR with a 24-105mm lens will let you zoom in close while still getting more of the background in the shot. Backgrounds are often crucial in photography. When photographing children, the right background can tell a lot about them. Try shooting in their room, or wherever their favorite place is.


A wide angle lens will also allow you to zoom in on a child’s face while still getting more of their body in the frame. This is a good thing when a child is holding something, such as a toy or a flower. If you’re using a point and shoot, try to get one that shoots in a 16:9 aspect ratio. It will give you wider format prints.


And don’t be afraid to use wide aperture settings. They’ll blur the background (the smaller the number, the less of the image will be in focus), which is great for taking pictures where you want the focus to be only on the subject.


Need For Speed

Kids live fast. Their expressions can change in a heartbeat, and if you’re not ready for it you’ll miss the shot. Make sure you have your equipment set up correctly before even mentioning a photo. Children are notoriously impatient, and if they have to wait for you, there’s a good chance you’ll miss your window of opportunity.


A camera with a quick response time is essential. Many point and shoots suffer from what is known as shutter-lag: the time in between your clicking of the shutter and the shutter’s actual firing. This can be incredibly frustrating when photographing children.


A camera with a continuous shot mode is your friend. Most DSLR cameras, and many point and shoots, are capable of taking multiple shots in a row. Some of them can take several shots per second! Wowza! Sure, a few of your shots will be duds, but this isn’t much of an issue when shooting digital. Simply delete the bad ones and move on.


Make sure you use a higher ISO when shooting a child that’s in motion (or select sports mode if you’re using automatic settings). The action will be frozen and keep your subject in focus. If you’re feeling artsy, you may want to try slowing down the shutter speed, giving the child a sense of movement. Play around with shutter speeds and see what kind of effects you can get!


In The Right Light

When it comes to photographing children, the questions we get asked the most usually have to do with lighting. When shooting inside, you’re likely to find yourself in situations where light is less than ideal. Increasing your ISO will help, as will a DSLR with a high speed lens. But this can only get you so far. Eventually, you are going to have to employ a flash. A popup flash is generally better than the flash built into the body of a point and shoot, and of course an external flash (either mounted on top of a camera or placed elsewhere) is even better.


One of the drawbacks to a flash is that the light it provides is often harsh. You can try adding a diffuser, which will eliminate some of the harshness, but the further away the flash gets from your lens, the more natural the lighting will appear. A directional flash will give you the best results. This allows you to bounce light from nearby walls or ceilings, giving you the natural look you were shooting for (pun intended). Not to mention, a blinding flash going off in a child’s face will scrunch up their features.


Let's Focus

Modern cameras all come equipped with autofocus. Unless you’re trying for a special effect that can’t be achieved any other way, there’s little need for manual focus. The great thing about autofocus is that it leaves you free to concentrate on composing your photo, letting you quickly get the shot.


But that isn’t to say autofocus is perfect for photographing children. With many cameras, the autofocus tends to cause shutter lag, which is likely to ruin your shot. What’s best is a camera that focuses quickly, thus eliminating the issue.


Here’s a question you may not have considered: where to focus? It’s usually a good idea to aim for the eyes. If your camera comes with multi-point focusing, try dropping the crosses on the eyes instead of the nose. It really depends on your other settings, but the small difference in focal points can result in the nose being out of focus instead of the eyes, which is usually ideal when taking portraits.


If you’re using a point and shoot, play around with the portrait mode. The camera will blur the background, leaving the subject in clear focus. It will look awesome!


Looking For The Shot

When taking pictures of children, getting down to their level is often a good idea. Unless they’re looking up at you, pointing down tends to make for a mediocre picture. Sit on the floor, or lay on your stomach, and look that little tyke in the eyes!


Always keep your camera handy and ready to go. When your child is engrossed in something, sneak in a few shots. Make sure you have a few spare memory cards and batteries handy as well.


There’s no need to wait for a smile, either. A child lost in thought can be a beautiful thing, and they make for fantastic photos.


Happy Birthday!

Photographing large gatherings of children can either be a lot of fun or a massive headache. What really makes the difference is how comfortable you are with your camera and the kind of equipment you have. When in large groups, kids often launch into hyper-drive, so being quick to capture the action is a must.


If your party is outside then you’re in luck, because there will be no need for a flash. But even then, a good DSLR with a high speed lens will be a life-saver. Don’t forget about that continuous shot mode we mentioned earlier, and make sure you have plenty of memory cards!


And let’s not forget about the details. A before and after shot of the party can be fun. Presents, balloons, and cake also make for great subjects. You can even get the grown ups in on it too: snap some pictures of them watching the action, or even interacting with the children.


Need More Informataion About Photographing Children?

Contact our friendly staff at Berger Brothers Camera today. We'll be happy to assist you in choosing the right camera OR suggest classes to help you take better photos.


Or Call Us At: 1-800-542-8811.
To see our Class Schedule: Click Here.


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