8 Camera Tricks for Taking Breathtaking Photos of the Kids

kids photoI heard it over and over again before I had a kid of my own -- babies are hard to photograph. To be honest, I didn't believe it. How could the most adorable things on earth be hard to photograph? Don't they pretty much just sit there, and, um, be while you snap away? So not true. Babies and kids are hard to photograph. For starters, they move faster than the speed of light. And also -- you can't just say "smile" and expect them to do so.

However. Taking a good photo of your child is possible. You just have to get creative, experiment with your camera, and know some tricks of the trade. Here are 8 tips for taking an awesome photo of your child. Happy snapping!

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1. Shutter speed. If you have a fancy DSLR camera, you're going to want to adjust the shutter speed. Kids -- even babies -- are fast. And they can be hard to capture. If you switch the shutter speed to a bit faster than you normally have, you have a better chance of capturing a single good moment from your wiggly child. If you don't feel comfortable messing around with the shutter speed, try shooting in Sports mode.

2. Shoot at dusk or dawn. The light in the middle of the day just isn't good for photos. It creates harsh shadows and generally doesn't look as "soft". If you're hanging out in the backyard with the kids before dinner, bring your camera along. You're guaranteed to get some great shots.

3. Get down to their level. When photographing your kids, don't stand up like a big, tall grownup -- get down to their level. You're going to get a much more centered photo, and it looks more elegant.

4. Focus on one thing. No need to always take a photo of your child's entire body and face. Experiment once in a while. Focus on their little hands; their feet; or their messy braids. The best pictures are the ones where you think outside the box.

5. Dress kids "simply". If you know you're going to be taking pictures of your children, dress them in plain, simple clothes that are preferably light-colored. Photos just look classier when no one is wearing crazy patterns or logos. (And in my opinion, babies look best in just diapers!)

6. Get a good "backdrop" -- AKA, a cute blanket. Photos of small babies are easy in the sense that they just lay there, but they're also hard in the sense that, well, they just lay there. Spice up a photo by placing your baby on a pretty, bright-colored blanket -- and only have the blanket and your child in the shot. (But remember, no bright-patterned clothes!)

7. Aperture Priority mode. Again, if you have a DSLR camera, switch it to Aperture Priority mode or Portrait mode. You'll get a good shot of your kid with the background slightly out of focus in those settings.

8. Limit the use of your built-in flash. In theory, flashes are great. And if you're Terry Richardson, they work out really well. But for non-photoshoot photos, no flash is best. Unless you really know what you're doing (and you have an external flash), the flash that comes with your camera typically winds up brightening up one part of the photo -- and it can look a little sloppy.

What tips do you have for taking good photos of the kids?


Image via Katsuhiso Nojiri/Flickr

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