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Shooting Kids: Tips for Fabulous Photographs

How to shoot good photographs of children

A photograph is a memory frozen for posterity. In later years you look at these with fond remembrance of the days gone by.  It is a great way to spend time with the kids. Children are vain creatures and they immensely enjoy being clicked. Especially if the photographer is ready to be a bit adventurous.

However, you often end up with blurred and darkened photographs. This causes great disappointment.  Here are a few hints and tips to avoid such misfires and come up with great pictures.

Study your camera: It is not necessary that you have the latest state-of-the art camera to click truly wonderful shots. Even the humdrum everyday camera, without the benefit of advanced features like zoom lens, can be used to capture lovely pictures. However, it is important to know each of the features available with your particular model. This will enable you to highlight its plus points and find a way around its weaknesses. So, get that manual out and go through it end to end. Once you are familiar with the theory, take out the camera and get to know the various buttons and controls.

Accessorise: Kids love to dress up.  Add numerous props like hats, shawls, stoles guns, big stuffed toys, baskets and flowers. It is amazing how kids react to the stuff and use the different objects. For a successful shoot, do not just go for the stiff smiling pictures. Instead, capture the range of emotions displayed.

Become invisible: Put a dressed up child in front of the camera, and she is bound to act up. You end up with a lousy photograph and a sullen child. Try candid photography instead. Catch the child unawares. Take the picture while she is engrossed in some activity or game. Zoom lenses are great for this but you can get good results without it too. Try talking with the kid about the activity. This will distract her attention from the camera and she will be focused totally on the activity in hand.

Improve the background: Many a good shot has been ruined by mismatched backgrounds. So before clicking ensure that it is perfect.  It should not blend in totally with the child’s dress – colours in sharp relief yield good results. Take care that you do not catch the household clutter or the uninspiring refrigerator. Try turning the camera vertically for a better angle. If you cannot move the child, try changing the angle.

Get in close: A good picture should be filled up mainly by the subject and not the surrounding background. Try taking close-ups for inspired shots.  The subject should fill the complete photograph. When clicking a child, go down to her level for better shots. This will also get rid of the unnecessary background that may detract from the picture. However check with the manual for the minimum permissible distance.  Avoid taking photographs too close. This will result in a blurred and distorted picture.

Be natural: Clicking a child in the natural environment – surrounded by toys, getting out of the den, reading a book etc., is a sure shot way to generate a very endearing picture. The child is eminently comfortable there and hence forms an excellent subject. You get better pictures than those of a child all dressed up and posing in the Sunday best.  Do not always aim for a spruced up child. Down and dirty can also be evocative at times.

Get outdoors: Pictures look much better in the sunlight than in artificial lighting. However, if outdoor shots are backlit, you end up with dark faces and a lovely, bright sky. To avoid this problem, avoid taking the picture at midday when the sun is at the harshest. Ensure that the subject is facing the light rather that having their back to it. If such a case is unavoidable, use your flash or place a white card next to the camera to reflect the light. Some cameras have backlight features to avoid this predicament.

Place your self: Placement is very important while clicking a picture. Keep the camera lens at the subject’s height. Remember, it is always better to position yourself in front, rather than at the side, while taking an action or sports shot.  The light should fall on the subjects face for clear and bright photos.

So get ready to put your best shot forward and make lovely memories of your child.


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Sia Mitra is a freelance writer and blogger with more than a decade of experience. She has written for most major publications like Femina, Prevention, Complete Well-being, Child, Mother & Baby, Parent & Child, Womens Era, etc.

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