Tuesday, January 30, 2007

10 Tips for Scrapbookers by Scrapbookers: Digital Portraits

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Capturing Great Photos of Children
Digital Photography Tips by Julie Kelley, Creative Team Member

Kids are usually in constant motion, and that makes getting great candid pictures of them quite a challenge. I am usually unhappy with "posed" pictures, but the great candid can be just as elusive! Here are a few tips to help you get some more great candid photos.

1. Camera speed does matter!
  • Most point and shoot cameras have a delay between when you push the button, and when the camera actually takes the picture. Depending on the camera and settings, this can be upwards of 2 seconds, and can also be the difference between a great shot and a not-so-great one.
  • When I'm using the point and shoot, I try to anticipate when the smile is going to come, and snap with that in mind.
  • One great thing about digital is that you can take pics, and know instantly if you caught the moment or not...

2. Read your camera manual.
  • I know that this sounds obvious, but it is really important to know what your camera settings are and how they work.
  • You should know how to turn off your flash (if you don't want to use it).
  • Even smaller cameras now have many different settings and options; you want to be in the correct setting for where you are.

3. Take the kids outside and turn off your flash!
  • Natural light is best for almost every photo, if you want to get great pics of kids, take them outside on a nice day, and just let them play.
  • Try to catch a day that isn't too sunny, but has some nice light.
  • If you can't get outside, try getting them close to a large sunny window. You will capture more natural skin tones instead of the "washed out" flash look.

4. Make use of various settings on your camera.

  • Use the portrait setting when trying to get a close up portrait, and the sports setting when trying to get action shots. I use the landscape setting pretty often when we are outside because it doesn't use the flash, and it makes the blues and greens really pop!

5. Take LOTS of pictures.
  • Now that so many people have gone digital, taking a ton of pictures is really affordable, and you are much more likely to get a great shot if you can just snap away with no worries about how much film you have left.

6. Invest in an additional battery and memory.
  • Make sure that your battery is charged, and have an extra one all ready to go so that you don't lose power when you have the perfect shot lined up!
  • The extra memory is great, especially if you are away from home, and can't just take the photos off the camera.

7. Have camera, will travel!
  • Take your camera with you wherever you go.
  • You never know when the "perfect" opportunity will come up. I have a Nikon D70s that I use when I think I will want my camera, and a Sony CyberShot that I have in my purse at all times "just in case."
  • The smaller camera is also great for times when I'll be in a situation (like the beach) where I don't want to lug the big camera, or I don't want to expose it to the elements.

8. Take a minute to look at what is around you when you're snapping pictures.

  • Watch for trees and other things that may look like they are growing out of someone's head.
9. Get close to your subject (or use a telephoto lens).
  • This will help you get a great picture when you are somewhere with a very distracting background.
  • Get in close (using your zoom if you don't want to disrupt the "moment") and fill the entire view screen with your subject.

10. Practice makes perfect!
  • Take pictures, and take lots of them.
  • There really is no better way to know how to get the best possible pics with your camera than to just take lots of pics and try different things and see what works!

This is one of my favorite pics of my daughter. It was taken outside this fall on a sunny day at a State Park in New Hampshire. We were out looking at the fall foliage and playing in the sand. I love the natural smile that she has. This is one of the pics that just captures how she really is.

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