Don’t let another candid portrait slip away when you use these simple photography tips from one of the Pros
Posed portraits are beautiful keepsakes, but there’s something truly special about candid child photography. They capture the essence of childhood in a way posed portraits simply can’t. They can also spark cherished memories even after your children are grown and have left the nest. Whether they’re on the sports field, or tinkering in the tree house, taking candid portraits is all about having the right camera in hand and strategy in mind. Here are a few of my best tips to help you make the most of your camera, kids, and all their energy.
Adjust your shutter speed
Sometimes it seems like kids travel at the speed of light. As a parent photographer you’ve got to pick up your game if you don’t want to be left in a blur. Continuous shooting mode can capture all that split-second magic. Don’t be afraid of taking too many. Just remember to delete the ones that don’t make the cut.
Young children in particular don’t have the barriers to personal space that we adults do. Get up close, crouch down to your kid’s level, and avoid having them make eye contact with the camera. Instead, focus in on their pudgy cheeks, muddy hands, and bashful expressions as they show you their world. Getting up close also adds intimacy, depth, and unique detail to every shot.
Go into stealth mode
If your kids tend to get distracted by the presence of your camera, you’ll need to sneakily desensitize them. Keep it nearby, in your hand, and turned on at all times. That way, when they get “in the zone” while playing in the yard, they’ll hardly notice the subtle sound of your camera’s shutter as it clicks away. If your subjects are particularly finicky, you may even have to remain out of sight, otherwise known as photographer “stealth mode.”
Make a move
Children live in constant motion and as a photographer, you can learn a thing or two from their example. Snap then step to the side, crouch down, or move to an angle with better lighting. Keep shooting as you search for the right position and edit out what didn’t work. Keep in mind that the light should be behind you, the action should be slightly off center, and the perspective should be level with your child.
Use a shallow depth of field
In photographer lingo, this is known as “shooting wide open.” It means shooting with a low aperture (anything between f/1.2 — f/2.8). It takes some practice and some fidgeting with your camera’s settings, but when you nail it, you’ll know. The background will be softly blurred and your child’s delicate features will shine through in the foreground.