Monday, 12 September 2011

Tips for Photographing your Kids

P&O Ferries is running a competition to win a family break to Disneyland Paris. All you have to do is
upload a video or photo of your family having fun to their Facebook page and get your friends to vote for it!

To give you a head start, we asked award-winning travel photographer, Steve Davey to give us his top tips for shooting great photos of your kids.

Kids are a compelling subject for photographs, but too often the pictures are disappointing, conveying none of the emotion or fun of the moment when you took them. Follow these simple rules though and you can be rewarded with great shots that you will treasure for ever!

• Make it fun. Make sure that your taking pictures doesn't turn into a mission for you, and a long boring drudge for them. If it does then you will get disappointing pictures, and very petulant kids!

• Work in short bursts. Kids have a very short attention span. They can get bored with anything if it goes on too long. If you bore them senseless, they are less likely to cooperate with pictures in the future.

• Give your kids something interesting to do. If they are doing something, like colouring or painting, then they are not going to be leaping around quite so much and you should be able to take more, considered pictures.

• Try to use natural light for better pictures. Flash can freeze movement pretty well, but it gives very ugly, harsh light. Try to photograph in natural light for more atmospheric images. Outdoor light is perfect for photographing kids, but avoid direct sunlight in the middle of the day.

• Don't try to pose your children. The pictures will often end up looking false and staged. Allow them to do what they want and photograph the result. The pictures will show their characters better.

• Always keep a camera on you. Often things will happen when you aren't expecting them, and you want to be able to take pictures of them wherever you are!

• Get them used to being photographed. If you get into the habit of taking a lot of pictures then your children will become more comfortable with the camera, and will learn to ignore it, leading to more relaxed images.

• Don't monopolise the camera. Let your children take pictures too. It will make them more comfortable and happy with the presence of a camera!

Use a relatively fast shutter speed to avoid your kids’ movement showing as blur in the picture. Anything from 1/125 to 1/1000 second, depending on the speed of movement. You might need to increase the ISO sensitivity to make this possible in low light levels.

• Use a continuous auto focus mode. This will cause the camera to continuously refocus, meaning that no matter how much your kids are moving, the camera should manage to keep them in focus.

• Choose your aperture carefully. A wide aperture will give you a pleasingly blurred background, but if the aperture is too wide, then the depth of field might be too shallow to keep the whole of a moving face in focus. An aperture of f5.6 or f8 is a good balance.

• Shoot a lot of pictures. You will probably get a high failure rate, especially if your kids are jumping around all over the place. Sometimes they will have their eyes closed or the focus or composition might be wrong.

• Photograph sad moments as well as happy ones. Don't just be a 'fair-weather' photographer. Your children won't always be happy, and you should take pictures to show this. Pictures of a tantrum could give you all a good laugh in the future.

• Show them the pictures. Most kids love looking at pictures of themselves, so remember to show them what you have taken. Make them feel that they have an ownership of the pictures, and they are something that you are doing together.

• Remember to put the camera down and join in! Whatever they are doing will probably be more fun than taking pictures. Spending time with your kids is probably more important and rewarding than always being their personal archivist!

Now why not put what you’ve learned to good use!? Enter the P&O Ferries Facebook competition now!

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