Hung up on getting the perfect photo of your kid? I understand. I was there once.
That was my solution.
Our family outings are usually visiting museums, zoo’s, atrium’s, and aquariums. These places are controlled yet engaging. Meaning my kids can’t take off on me at a moments notice putting their life in peril, like running into traffic. I have four kids which means I’m a bit out numbered when I venture out, so visiting lots of gated or indoor places was always best for me.
When learning the in’s and out’s of my camera, and how to shoot on manual, taking my kids to “fun” places, meant I could play too. I already knew I wanted to shoot using natural light with no assist from my flash, so having my kids occupied while I practice dialing in my ISO, Shutter Speed, and F-Stop; gave me the time I needed to figure things out.
Once I knew how to expose an image correctly in the manual setting, I could then tweak that image even more to my liking. I learned from this experience through “playing” that I love bright, slightly over-exposed images. I also learned that I don’t care for my images centered. This is the photographic art I love to create for myself. Remember, you are creating art and there is no wrong or right way to do so.
The photo above is of my boy, Hayden. He loves that skeleton zip-up, and I have to sneak it away from him to wash it! I’m sure you can relate to something similar describing a child of your own. Anyway, when playing at the Como Park Japanese Garden a few weeks ago, I noticed Hayden hoping from one large stone to another along this stone-bridge. The water hasn’t been added yet, since it’s just the beginning of Spring, but you’re able to tell how deep the pond actually is. I noticed how Hayden would stop in the center, and reach his arms out as if he was floating in mid air. I also noticed he would repeat this stone-hoping action end to end, so I waited patiently, and snapped the image when he was facing me. What I didn’t do: I didn’t interrupt his moment. Nor ask him to re-create the scene I just saw with my own eyes. I let him be. I enjoyed watching my child play. Dialed in my settings, and snapped the picture I wanted.
The image above was taken in The North Garden. My boys love looking at the fish and trying to pet one in this area. While waiting for his brother to finish up looking around, I noticed Hayden perched himself upon the stone bench and assumed the position above. (LOL) I was far enough away taking images of still life when I noticed him through the palm trees. So I dialed in my settings, framed my image, and snapped away! Once again…I didn’t ask my child to interrupt his play, nor did I interrupt his moment by yelling “Stay there a sec Hayden! I want to take a photo!”
If you find that you’re kids are moving to fast to capture something genuine and picturesque, then turn your focus (no pun intended) to stationary life while you’re still practicing on manual mode. That way you know you practiced a bit, then kick your camera back in Auto mode and capture your kids. If you find yourself shooting Auto more often, then challenge yourself to frame your picture differently. Meaning don’t center shoot the entire time. AND please get close to your subject!
So when it comes to photographing your kid(s):
1. Be patient.
2. Don’t ask your child to repeat an action. You’ll end up spoiling the mood and create fake emotionless images.
3. Study and watch your child. You’ll enjoy their moments a lot more and you’ll learn to actually be in the moment!
4. Look for new angles to shoot from.
5. Don’t get frustrated or mad at yourself. You will have another chance to get your shot.
And last but not least: while practicing in manual mode, if you’re not getting the images you like, don’t feel shamed for putting your camera back in auto mode. Do make sure you ask your self what got you frustrated shooting in manual mode, then research and find your answer later that day. This is he only way you’ll be successful when learning to photograph your child(ren) while learning to shoot on manual.
Have confidence! I know you’ll get there!
All for now!