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Thursday, 24 January 2013

Photographing Pets and Children - Part 2


If you do want some more traditional formal pictures there are a few choices. One is to organise for a professional sitting, the photographers are used to photographing children and have all the props and lighting to do a great job in the least amount of time. If you want to have a go yourself, then get everything set up before you put the children where you want them.
Don't tell them to say 'cheese', instead ask them if they like ice-cream or chocolate, ask them what their favourite is and so on. Keep the camera on multiple exposure or burst mode to capture that special moment and if there is a group take lots so you can choose the ones where most people are looking and smiling.
Kids love novelty, so climb up on a ladder and take a photo, get them all to take their hats off and throw them in the air, tell them all to jump, then jump and raise their hands. Get down on the grass and get them lying on their stomachs facing you.
Not only will you get better photos of them, but they will also be creative and have that wow factor.
Most people now carry mobile phones with them which has a camera in it. At every opportunity get the phone out and take photos, you can delete all the photos you don't want, but it gets the children used to the camera being there so they will soon ignore what you are doing and get on with the important things in life, like having fun and playing.
Another useful tool is a tripod and a remote shutter release. This may sound technical, but if you ask at your camera store they are available at a very reasonable price. Set the camera up on the tripod, plug-in the cable release or you can get wireless shutter release for some cameras and then start talking and interacting with the children as you walk around behind the camera and to each side, pressing the shutter release, they will not realise you are taking a photo as you are not looking at the camera. Every now and then make a show of actually taking a photo so they don't become aware of what you are doing.
This gives you much more freedom to interact with them and is particularly good for pets as you can hold up a toy or a treat to get them looking where you want them to without having to physically get back behind the camera. Your pictures will also be much sharper as there won't be any camera shake caused by unsteady hands.
Another tip that will help make your photographs more interesting is to not put your subject in the centre of the frame. Pretend you have drawn a noughts and crosses on your screen, some cameras have a grid option that does this for you, and then put them at the intersection of any two of those lines. If you look at professional images you will notice they do this, but remember rules are also made to be broken, so experiment.
Finally the most important thing is to make photography fun, both for yourself and for them. If we enjoy something we are more likely to do it again and the same is true for children and animals. If it starts to become hard work, put it aside for another day. If you get used to using your phone camera you will have plenty of opportunities to get photos of the children and your pets and they will be more at ease as well.
Have fun clicking away. Remember it's free and it's fun.
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