Oh, kids. With their boundless energy, unwavering excitement and adorable distractibility; convincing them to stand still for a picture can seem next to impossible. Yet we all know that years from now, those captured moments are priceless. So if your kids or grandchildren are the type who are always in motion, here is a quick guide for how to photograph them in action so you can have an album full of irreplaceable, candid memories:
No matter what you’re photographing with, whether a camera phone or a professional DSLR, composition is the foundation every image stands upon. The most simple approach to good composition is remembering something called the Rule of Thirds. In essence, what this principle is trying to have you think about is if you took the image and divided it into three sections both vertically and horizontally. Then, you want to place your subject of emphasis either on one of those lines, or at where they intersect.
Here are a few great visual examples of the Rule of Thirds from a Lightroom Presets blogger.
Faster Shutter Speed
If you are using a phone or a point-and-shoot style camera, there should hopefully be a preprogrammed option called “action” or “sports” mode. These are normally labeled with a symbol of a stick figure running with little lines behind them. However, if you use manual settings with your camera option, when shooting action shots you are going to want to incorporate a faster shutter speed.
To get technical for a moment, the shutter speed refers to how long the shutter of the camera is open and exposing the sensor to light. However, while the shutter is open and the sensor is registering light, it is also registering any motion occuring before the shutter closes. So for example, having a slow shutter speed (a.k.a. Having the shutter open for a longer amount of time) while a child is running would result in a brighter image from the increase in light, yet the subject would also be blurred because they were in motion the whole time.
Therefore, when photographing a kid in action, make sure you have a faster shutter speed! This is how you will be able to almost pause time and capture a crisp image even when the children are playing sports or being goofy. It is worth noting that the faster shutter speed will be most effective in well-light scenarios, such as soccer games during a sunny day, and will not be as effective in low-light moments.
Anticipate the Moment
Ok so you have your composition in mind and your shutter speed is ready to go, here come the kids sprinting by to score a goal and, shoot! You missed them! Finding the moment is very important. These are some of the crucial things to note during a wedding as well. Now you might know why people tend to hire professional wedding videographer Lynchburg (or anywhere for that matter).
Yes, this is a struggle we all deal with when trying to photograph people in motion. The key is to anticipate the moment! First step is to line-up the camera where you know the kids are going to pass by, and then you want to already focus the lens before they pass through the frame.
You can use this technique with a newborn as well. Anticipate that laugh that could brighten everything around you, and click the picture at that perfect moment. You can also consider contacting a professional for San Antonio newborn photography (or elsewhere) who can have experience with the newborn photoshoot. That can also provide you an option of being in the frame instead of staying behind the lens.
For iPhones, you can do this by simply taping with your thumb where you want the focus to be based upon your Rule of Thirds line-up. For point-and-shoot or DSLR cameras, you want to push the capture button only halfway down and should hear the camera adjust its focus. And then keep holding the button halfway until the kids run through the frame!
Then, as they pass through, boom! Snap your shot!
Anticipating the moment is key for not missing that key photograph.
Regardless of your age, we can pretty much all agree that posing for photographs can get pretty awkward, fast. And moreso, when looking at images, it can be rather obvious when someone is using a fake smile compared to when they are vibrantly beaming with authentic smiles. That’s the challenge for everyone trying to take pictures; to capture genuine emotion. Now when the images are clicked, one may have to take into account different factors, such as poster size, frame, colour, and so on, in order to get a picture that you can frame or scrapbook.
Here’s a hint: telling someone to smile isn’t going to do the trick.
If you want to get pictures of your kids when they are truly happy and having fun, that means being in the background and acting like their paparazzi a little bit. Don’t try and stop them and tell them to “look at me and smile.” That’s most likely going to elicit either A) a fake smile or B) some other onerary reaction like a tongue sticking out or eye roll.
So instead, use the above tip for Anticipate the Moment and try to capture the most sincere times. This doesn’t mean you can’t even ask them to pause and smile, but try to read the room and do so with intentionality. Or, if you do want the kids to pose, maybe think of a funny joke or goofy face to make so that when you go to snap the picture, they are smiling with genuine emotion (and maybe a little bit of laughter).
Lastly, at the end of the day, it’s all about having fun. Yes, capturing pictures to remember the good times is an invaluable keepsake, but you want to make sure you are in the moment and enjoying those times, too. One fun way you can incorporate pictures into playtime is to let the kids be the photographer! How do they see the world? Or, you can tell them you’re the photographer and they are fashion models, professional sport players, or movie stars! Give them one of those sunglasses for kids and watch as they strut their stuff and really give you something to take photos of.
And then, after snapping a few pictures, consider putting the camera or phone down and embracing the moment without any digital distractions. Because sometimes, the best images of all are the ones our memories capture.
Image by hedgehog94