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Photographing children

Photographing children - Jeff Cable, Director of Marketing for Lexar Media shares his child photography tips.

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Portraits and People

Since kids grow up so fast, now is the time to pick up your camera and capture all the special moments – both big and small – of their childhood. By following some of these tips and tricks, you can enhance your photographs and turn precious memories into lifelong keepsakes.

1. Get low
You are much taller than your child and tend to shoot from a bird’s-eye view. However, the best shots of children are taken at their eye level, so get low to the ground to take your pictures, and you’ll find you get a fresh perspective.

When photographing children get down low

2. Focus on eyes
Most good photographs of people and animals have one thing in common: the eyes are in focus. In most cases, unless the goal is abstract or candid shots, if the child’s eyes are not in focus, the picture will not be as strong or captivating. Make sure to always focus the camera on your child’s eyes.

3. Let them be themselves
When you take a picture of your child, you want to catch their spirit and personality in the image. The best way to capture their essence in a photograph is to let them be themselves. Although there will be times when you will want to pose your child, many of my favorite images are when they’re doing their favorite activities. Try to fade into the background so they forget you’re there, and they can just be themselves.

4. Show them the pictures on the camera

If you show your kids their picture on the back of the camera as you are taking them, they’ll be involved in the process and their interest will be piqued. This is a great way to get kids comfortable in front of the camera.

5. Avoid harsh light
This tip is true for shooting almost any picture with a digital camera. It is always best to have your kids completely in the shade or fully in the sun. If there is a mix of lighting, it is very difficult to get a good photo of them.

As you can see in this image, with bright sunlit areas and shadows in the frame, the camera has a tough time trying to figure out what part of the image should be bright and what should be dark.

Avoid harsh light

6. Try fill flash
If you want to try something a little more advanced, try using your flash even during your daylight shooting. The light from the flash will help you brighten the shadows under their eyes and nose, and give you a well-lit image.

Using flash

7. Get close
Many people make the mistake of taking every image of their child from head to toe. By getting close and focusing on just a portion of your child, you will capture a more dramatic image.

Get in close

8. Watch your background
Be aware of the background of your picture to make sure that it is not too distracting or overpowering. You want the viewer of the picture to focus on your child and not the background. For example, here is a nice picture of the little boy, except for the unsightly garbage can in the background.

9. Try different angles
Most people take pictures of their kids when they are facing each other, but there are times when other angles could make nice memories. Try taking pictures of your child from behind or from the side.

10. Limit their movement
For younger kids, put them in a swing or other play area to contain their movement. For example, if your two-year old is in a swing, their movement is predictable (back and forth). You can better position yourself in front of them and shoot pictures of their reactions, without chasing them all over the place. Much better for your photography and certainly fun for them!

One last bonus tip for you: If you get frustrated while trying to take your best pictures, your child will sense that frustration and it will be difficult to get them to relax and smile. Relax and have fun when you are taking the pictures – remember you’ll have these moments for a lifetime!
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