Preparing to Shoot
Honest emotions (tip1) is the expression that best describes what we feel when we look at children. This is what a kid picture should capture. But, just like pets, young kids are most of the time restless and with no patience for a shooting session. Otherwise, why do a shooting session if you focus on spontaneous emotions(tip 2)?
Another tip would be to collaborate with the kids (tip 3): go to the park and offer them some chocolate or candy. This will bring up even more joy on their faces. They will look towards the camera with no fear (and maybe will even ask to play with it). However, at the beginning, they will try to get attention by playing a circus… but after a short while they will get bored of that and will finally get natural – so be patient (tip 5). If a child is there with the paren’ts, talk to them, gain trust (tip 6).
The unexpected movement of the children is the reason why your power-up time and shutter lag should be minimal (tip 7) (the laugh, the cry, the joy wont wait for your camera to be prepared) and the shutter speed under 0,5 sec (tip 8 ) (to prevent motion blur that may occur while the child moves).
If the lighting conditions wont allow you to have such a short shutter speed, adjust the ISO setting (tip 9) to a higher level. Most compact cameras have a preset shooting mode for Kids&Pets (tip 10) which will automatically do all the settings for you if you don’t want (or can not) do it manually. The movement of the kids will probably also result in having problems with the focus (especially if you try a narrow DOF like in portraiture). This means that each shot will be focused differently and that should happen fast. The auto-focus is definitely the best choice (tip 10).
Shooting and Later Edits
Get down to their level and be inside their world (tip 12). Most of all, the eyes of the kids are large and beautiful; therefore you will want to place them in a point of interest of the picture for enhancing the face value (tip 13). Sometimes, to do so, get closer and if getting closer will not help, use zoom (tip 14).
Happy kids pictures always turn out good in vivid colors (tip 15) (later on you can even give the picture a warmer tone (tip 16)), but, like any broken rule, black&white – see above – (tip 17) works also.
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