01.14.13

Photographing little ones

Posted in photos at 1:48 am by wingerz

_MG_9415

Based on my Lightroom stats, I took over 23,000 photos last year. Some of them were good. Most of them were of my family; most of those of my two-year-old. I have a lot of terrible photos, but also some good ones. Here are a few tips.

  • Use an external flash. The lighting looks so much better, and this helps with the fact that kids are always on the move. I think that this is more important than getting a really nice lens.
  • Shoot in burst mode. Take a lot of photos. I think on average I end up with 1 ‘good’ photo out of every 7.
  • Know your camera well enough to turn it on and snap a photo within a few seconds.
  • Get a tripod. You can make fun time lapse movies and also get yourself into a few photos.
  • Make sure your partner knows how to use your camera, at least well enough to compose decently and focus correctly.
  • Embrace the craziness. My kid is totally sick of my camera now, but enjoys making funny faces. We now have some good family portraits.
  • Use bribery. Young children seem to be quite susceptible to it.
  • Focus on the eyes, especially if you’re shooting at a wide-aperture.
  • Get down on the ground to get closer to the action.
  • Don’t cut off feet. If you’ve mostly shot adults and photograph children from the same distance you may end up with some awkward photos where your kid’s feet are cut off from the photo; this can look pretty un-natural. Zoom in to get the upper body or out to get the whole body.
  • Optimize your workflow for sharing. Use a tool like Lightroom or Aperture. Dump photos often (I do it once a week), and don’t spend a lot of time on post-processing. I generally just shoot JPGs now.
  • Back up your photos. I use a NAS and back up all of my decent photos using CrashPlan.
  • Make something real with your photos – prints, albums, calendars. There are tons of great products out there for this.

As with all things, the best way to improve is to do it regularly. As for the little photo shown here, it took some luck and persistence to convince this ladybug to hang out with us for the entire 10-minute walk home and wait for me to run into the house to get my camera.