Advice needed - photos of babies/kids

Emerana

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I love the look of close up photos of young children in natural light with alot of clairty around the eyes and blur in the back...you know what I mean, right? I have been practicing alot...not as much as I like, both my children have totally stopped cooperating! But I was hoping someone here could look at a few I took today offer some advice.

I am new to photography, only started 2 weeks ago. I have been reading the manual and online thus far and taking a ton of photos. I have a Canon Rebel XTI. Ih have 3 lenses but almost always use my 55mm prime 1.8. I also have a speedlite which I am using in most of these photos either as fill flash (outside) and or bouncing it off the ceiling. This first one I didnt use it because there was alot of natural light and a very high ceiling, but the rest have it. I do not have a tripod yet but want to get one. I tend to shoot in the P mode.

So any feedback to help me get better shots?
1
6-3.jpg


2
3-3.jpg


3
5-4.jpg


4
2-4.jpg


5
1-4.jpg


6
4-2.jpg
 

Mav

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Emerana, I'd say for having started just 2 weeks ago that you're off to an outstanding start! :) These all look great to me. #4 is my favorite which really seems to pop. I take it these are straight off of the camera? Looks like some of them could use a little bit of sharpening and general post processing. There's various programs out there that can do this automatically for you and are specifically calibrated to your camera body and lens combinations.
 
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Emerana

Emerana

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Thanks :) They are all unedited. I have been using Picasa and Paint shop pro but I didnt touch these yet. I wasnt sure what to do honestly. I will play though. I am going to buy Elements very soon and am anxious to learn how to use it.

I like 4 alot too. I think she had stopped moving for a whole second. I just wish my lens cap wasnt in the photo.
 

BuZzZeRkEr

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I agree with MAV above. Good composition but the photos could have been better in the technical aspect. Seems like there was a little difficulty with the focus in most of the pictures....looks like those we're shot in low light with a moving subject. It is pretty difficult to take pictures of a moving subject in low light without a flash. You can adjust your ISO but my fix would be to use a flash and bounce it. The white balance is a little warm too. Cute kids!:wink:
 

Mav

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I'm a big fan of DxO and use it for almost all of my post processing. The calibrated modules for auto-sharpening and distortion and vignetting correction is great, and it lets you do a ton of other things too. Definitely download demos of all the programs you're considering and give them a try before buying.

Since you mentioned that your kids don't always cooperate, you might consider getting a longer lens, which would give you a little more working distance and might not bother them as much. ;) I've gotten good results even indoors with my Nikkor 55-200 (sold), 70-300 VR, and 18-135. All of these are slow lenses, but as long as you know how to use a flash well you'll still get good results, and you certainly seem to know how to use a flash. :mrgreen:
 
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Emerana

Emerana

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Thanks for the feed back. I was using the speedlite to bounce in all but two. I wonder if some of the lack of sharpness is from having my apeture wide open? The ones of my daughter were inside and I really just didnt have enough light I guess. The ones of my son had too much light i think.

WB is just such a pain! I custom set it ut everything looked blue so I used auto WB. Turned warm but it was the best option I could find.

As my husband says "If it were easy from the starting gate, it wouldnt be a very good hobby"
 
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Emerana

Emerana

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Thanks Mav. I will check the program out. I have a canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 but its hard to use it. I get more blur and my kids are quite clingy. They are almost always within a few feet of me. They wont sit still and my son always looks away from the camera (or runs). But I am going to take the advice and play with it a little more and see if it helps. Thanks
 

Mav

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At large apertures especially f/2.8 and bigger in this range, precise focus becomes critical and you can't just leave the AF in full auto mode. I have no idea what Canon calls it, but on my Nikon I have to switch to Dynamic Area AF which lets you select individual AF sensors and then I usually focus on one of the eyes. At f/1.8 you have very little depth of field for moving subjects and I actually gave up shooting like that. I try to shoot f/2.8 to f/5.6 (usually f/4) just so that I have enough depth of field so that if focus isn't precise or if she moves a little, I'll still have a sharp photo.

Also watch your shutter speed too. I have no idea how fast your kids might have been moving, but I generally need about 1/125s to freeze my 9 month old. At 1/60s or less I loose too many shots to either motion blur by my daughter, or hand shake blur by myself.
 
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Emerana

Emerana

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Yeah I have the focus point on the center one so I can focus and recompose.

Thanks for the advice about the settings. I will try those tomrrow...I need to get somewhere with good lighting :)

BTW, I saw your daughter on another post and she is sooooooooooo cute!!! Nice photo too!
 

kundalini

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I think you are off to a very good start. Several of these only need some tweaking with post processing.

One more thing to mention is that I have read many of Mav's posts. You should pick her brain, if you know what I mean.
 
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Emerana

Emerana

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Mav - thanks so much for the advice. I used those settings and got much better results! None turned out...my sweety wasnt feeling sweet! But the photos are much clearer. I am still producing photos that are slightly too warm. Is that WB?

I downloaded the editing program and finding it hard to use. I think I just need some quiet time to figure it out. It seems complicated. But I have 2 weeks to play with it.

Thanks again so much for your help and everyone who jumped in to offer advice. This is a wonderful resource!
 

Mav

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Cool! :mrgreen:

Yup, you should be able to trim out your white balance on the camera. It's easy enough to do in DxO also, right from the JPGs. I haven't tried v5 yet, but yeah the interface can be pretty clunky and confusing, but once you get the hang of it, it's great.

The biggest challenge of kids/baby shooting is that you not only have to get your technique and exposure just right, but you also have to manage to do it consistently enough so that on the ONE photo where the composition and their expression is just right, you've got everything else nailed too. Can be extremely challenging when they won't hold still, don't know what a camera is, or are a little older and more self aware and might not be cooperative, lol.

My daughter has had a camera stuck in her face since a few minutes after birth, so hopefully she'll keep cooperating. :)
 

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