I am no genius and certainly not famous when it comes to photography, however I have had the pleasure of being asked by many family, friends and aquantainces for my opinion, questions, tips etc, all of which are merely based on my experience and growth since I became a “mom with a camera”.
So you have a DSLR Camera, you do not want to become a professional but want to take nice pictures. It is amazing the amount of people who pick up a DSLR and suddenly with the first shot become “pro”. I actually had a friend of mine who admitted she loves her DSLR Canon Rebel, but has no interest in learning the custom advanced features on it – but shes happy she has it to take “good” pictures of her family everyday. This is what these tips are for.
1. Be Natural. If you want to be able to capture things your kids do daily, do not make a fuss when you get the camera out, just get it out and take photos in the moment. Do not ask the kids to look at you, capture what they are DOING.
2. Make your next purchase be a zoom lens. Especially for outside, then you can literally sit on the side lines while watching your kids and they can truly do what they are doing and you will really feel the emotion.
3. Light is so very important. If you are in a low light situation ensure the light source is facing your subjects, so example using natural light if your kids are in a room with a large window or a door to the outside, you will atain the best expsure if you can get them looking towards the light source.
4. Use subtle direction, meaning make it fun and sound like the kids idea, so for example if you want them to move to a better lit area make it sound like it would be SO much more fun if you took your toys over there or wow I bet Barbie would love to look outside!
5. If you are in the mood to take some shots and have something in mind, its so very frustrating when the kids just will not cooperate. I am not against bribery 😉 Hey its a win win for everyone and will ease your frustration of non-cooperative kids !
6. Every moment is a memory, regardless of whether you have your “good” camera, dont be afraid to use your cell phone and capture the memory!
7. If you have purchased a DSLR experiment with its amazing capabilities. Yes even if you just use Auto you will get much better quality photos than your point and shoot. Yes the DSLR’s are getting better at detecting light in a scene etc – however experiment with P and your aperture and shutter speed settings on the camera. I do only shoot on M (this is in reference to the dial on the top of your camera), it was a very large learning curve, but I cannot now shoot any other way, I control everything the camera does and set it to how I want it to take the photo.
8. The on-camera flash is very harsh. Even when you use your camera outside, the camera may still fire the flash – even when it is not needed. Outside is a great time to give P a shot, this is a program mode but the flash will not fire.
9. Read your manual. Yes I put this as 9, and although these tips are not in any certain order, this is something I personally wouldn’t recommend you do as soon as you open the box. You need to be somewhat comfortable with how to turn your camera on before reading the advanced or even modes which includes anything off Auto.
10. If you are too close to your subject and use a flash you will get blown spots – this means the photo will actually not have any colour at all in the “blown” area of the image. This can also happen when you are outside shooting in snow. Hints, dont use your flash outside in the snow, this is a good opportunity to try the P mode. If you have to use your flash, ie inside, have distance between you and your subject – good to use your zoom lens even if its a small one.
11. HAVE FUN !
12. Back up your photos!!! This is a major fear of mine – I have a few ways of backing things up, external drive and to my flickr site – I pay the $25 a year to upload an unlimited amount of photos and categorize them by the month.
13. Take your camera with you – I remember when I first got my DSLR and I was so afraid to take it out, well its an investment, but it was bought to be used. So use it. Don’t care what others may say about “lugging” a big camera around or looking for light, blah blah blah. These are YOUR memories!
14. When using your camera outside give it time to reclimiatize once you come inside. This is for both winter and summer, in the winter when you come in where its warm its going to fog up, if you are shooting in the summer and take your camera from the cool inside of a building (a/c) and outside where it is hot or humid, you will fog up and your photos will not turn out, so give it time.
15. You can get stylish camera bags and straps! The bags look just like a purse 🙂
16. If you are looking into purchasing a DSLR or upgrading or adding to your lens collection – research AND go into stores to handle them. I spent many years upgrading from my “kit” lenses to the Canon L lens. If you do not plan on getting into photography as “deep” as me lol you still want a good lens. What is good is that a lot of the “kit” lenses are being becoming more better quality lens.
17. Get down on your kids level – yes this means laying on the floor, grass, sand etc – the different perspective you get by doing this is what truly puts the feeling into the photograph.
18. Capture all emotions. Yes we do not need to have millions of photos of our kids having the melt downs that all kids do – however lets be realistic, its REAL LIFE! I have photos of my kids having a “moment” lol the kids get a kick out of seeing it later … see how you looked, that was silly ;P
19. You dont have to be a “pro” just because you have a DSLR. Buy one and enjoy capturing memories for YOU and Your family!
20. You can never stop learning with photography! A great resource is www.dpreview.com .