Photographing Children

f3.5, 1/250 sec. Lens FL 40 mm, ISO 100, Distance to subject 5 ft.

 

Recently I conducted a private lesson with a student who has an 18 month old and was struggling to get good pictures.  Several of my students over the past year have had the same issue.  I thought maybe it was time for advice on what I’ve learned.

I recalled a question I’ve gotten several times over the last 10 years from relatives and friends, “How did you get such good pictures of your granddaughter?  Everything I take is blurred and out of focus”.

The answer is, some of it just luck, but having the camera set up correctly surely helps.

  1. Set your camera’s Auto Focus mode to continuous focus (CF).
  2. Set your Focus point to a single point centered in the viewfinder.
  3. It’s also good to set the camera to multi-exposure mode.  In doing so, as long as the shutter button is depressed fully, the camera will continue to take photos.  While this will fill your memory card more quickly I have found that at times I’m able to get better photos.
  4. Set your camera shooting mode to speed (Tv/S depending on your manufacturer).
    In this mode your camera will set the aperture automatically.
  5. ISO Setting to 200
  6.  Set your shutter speed between 1/250-1/500 of a second to start. For indoor photos you likely need to use a flash and/or raise your cameras ISO setting to 400/800 or higher. (Note: the owner’s manual will provide details as to setting up your camera for higher ISO setting when using a flash).
  7. With your camera set as in 1-6 above, you can then move your camera following your child’s movements. The camera will maintain the correct focus as long as the focal point is on the child.    Remember this only works when you have the shutter button depressed halfway. Then, when you are ready to take a photo, you depress the shutter button fully.

 

Remember to get down and take the photos at your child’s level.

img032
A scanned copy of a 40+ year old photo of my son.

The image below was supplied by one of my students and provides a good illustration of when you don’t have the camera set to a single focal point. The woman behind the children is in sharper focus, clearly the camera was set to multi-focus point mode.

 

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