Advice for shooting kids (that sounds bad)

TreeofLifeStairs

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I have a 2-1/2 year old and an 11 month old. Part of the deal with my wife for getting a nice camera was that I had to take good pictures of the kids. Already she's been quite impressed with the pictures I've taken, but I would obviously like to get better. I'm not always sure what makes a good portrait shot. Here's one that I like, but let me know what could be done to make it better. Keep in mind the subjects age and attention span.

$DSC01222.jpg
 

ShooterJ

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Eye contact would be good, and the fences/rails in the background are distracting. The hair is a bit wild and the light/shadow across the face are odd at first glance.

Granted the attention span, but for candid shots you might try some angles with less distracting backgrounds, better light falling on the subject, etc..

You could also get their attention just long enough to fire off a shot.. catch them by surprise, once your conditions are good.. then you get that eye contact and possibly some great expressions/reactions.
 

cgipson1

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Don't shoot in very harsh sunlight if possible. See how it is so very bright on her chest and arms? Or have someone hold a diffuser panel if you can. Here is an inexpensive combo that includes a diffuser panel large enough to help. Amazon.com: ePhoto REF4366 43x 66-Inches Extra Large Oval 5 in 1 Reflector Panel Kit with Black, White, Silver, Gold and Translucent: Camera & Photo

Shooting is shade is far preferable to hard, contrasty light like this. You can use the reflector panels to add light to the face when it needs it also.

Shooting vertically (Portrait format) will put more emphasis on the subject, and prevent cut off foreheads. Shooting Horizontally like this can be used to add context about the location,etc... but can also add a lot of useless dead space that detracts from the photo.

Watch for what is in the background.. make sure it doesn't compete with the subject.

Eye contact with a subject helps the image to make contact with the viewer...

When shooting kids.. always shoot on their level if possible... or from below. Shooting from above is dominant, and subjugates them
 

wyogirl

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I too have a 2 year old. The best thing (I think) is to get a good zoom lens (up to at least 100 mm) and get out of the child's way. Track the kid with your eye in the viewfinder because as soon as you look up, you will have missed a shot. Go for eye contact and try to focus on the eyes. Shoot with a wide aperture so that the background isn't distracting. You will need a relatively fast shutter speed because kids are maniacs. Make a game out of getting their picture taken. I have a boy so automatically fart noises make him laugh.... I'm sure that there is something that will make girls laugh too... I just don't know what. I love candids of kids more than posed portraits, but you can always tape some fabric to your wall and have your child pose as well. If you don't have lighting, go for a wall close to a window and experiment.
 

ShooterJ

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Don't shoot in very harsh sunlight if possible. See how it is so very bright on her chest and arms? Or have someone hold a diffuser panel if you can. Here is an inexpensive combo that includes a diffuser panel large enough to help. Amazon.com: ePhoto REF4366 43x 66-Inches Extra Large Oval 5 in 1 Reflector Panel Kit with Black, White, Silver, Gold and Translucent: Camera & Photo

Shooting is shade is far preferable to hard, contrasty light like this. You can use the reflector panels to add light to the face when it needs it also.

Shooting vertically (Portrait format) will put more emphasis on the subject, and prevent cut off foreheads. Shooting Horizontally like this can be used to add context about the location,etc... but can also add a lot of useless dead space that detracts from the photo.

Watch for what is in the background.. make sure it doesn't compete with the subject.

Eye contact with a subject helps the image to make contact with the viewer...

When shooting kids.. always shoot on their level if possible... or from below. Shooting from above is dominant, and subjugates them

I also highly recommend paying attention to this guy.. I certainly do. Check out his flickr galleries, you'll see why. Hehehehe
 

Josh66

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Kid pictures are harder than they sound. For anyone with kids, this is obvious. They move around a lot, and fast too.
 

brian_f2.8

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Lots of good things said here but if you can do it during golden hour
 

Designer

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Tree; I would just add that you're going to take lots of pictures, not all of which will be "keepers". Just learn to be more discriminating in what you keep for framing. I know, easier said than done, considering some people just can't throw away the bad ones. Eventually, you will have so many that you will begin to unframe some of the first ones so you can frame the better ones.
 

ShooterJ

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Kid pictures are harder than they sound. For anyone with kids, this is obvious. They move around a lot, and fast too.

No doubt ... No kids here, but I shot a lot of photos of my buddies kids this last Easter and.. OMG... lol
 

Derrel

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A few things can help. First off is shooting in decent lighting conditions; avoid "squinty lighting" conditions!!! Not all lighting is created equal. When the light is good, shoot,shoot,shoot. Open shade on bright days is easy to work with; it prevents squinting, and if the child is facing toward an area of bright SKY-light, it can give beautiful catchlights in the eyes.

Backgrounds can make or break many photos. Look for clean, simple backgrounds most of the time. When shooting, always look behind the subject in the finder, and evaluate the background. Get down to the kid's level most of the time. Really "work at it" if you want good kid pics.
 

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