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This chapter is from the book


It's easier to get pictures of children outside, but that doesn't mean it's easy to get good pictures. Follow these guidelines to help you get better photos:

  • White balance: Daylight (preferred) or Auto when it's sunny; switch to Cloudy or Open Shade when it's overcast
  • ISO: 200–400 (sunny); 400–800 (overcast)
  • Suggested modes: Shutter Priority (S, Tv)
  • Shutter speed: 1/125 to 1/500 or faster
  • Aperture: Set automatically by camera
  • Scene mode: Sports, Kids and Pets, or similar action-oriented modes. Use Hi ISO if pictures are too dark or are blurred by camera shake or subject motion.
  • Zoom: As needed
  • Notes: Shoot before 10 a.m. or after 2 p.m. for the best light. Use image stabilization (IS) to prevent camera shake. Use Servo or continuous focus.

Get Closer...and Use the Right Framing

Wide-angle shots can cover up the subject with clutter (see Figure 7.15). Use your zoom lens to get in closer for better photos (see Figure 7.16). Figure 7.16 also demonstrates that holding the camera sideways (vertical) works better for some shots.

Figure 7.15

Figure 7.15 There are children inside the rope ladder. Can you see them? (1.1x zoom)

Figure 7.16

Figure 7.16 Flip the camera to vertical, zoom in (4x), and now the main subject is easy to see.

...but don't get too close, as shown in Figures 7.17 and 7.18.

Figure 7.17

Figure 7.17 Too tight a shot makes the viewer feel uncomfortable.

Figure 7.18

Figure 7.18 Back up a bit and it's easier to see what's going on.

How to Unclutter the Background

Shooting against the sky helps make children at play stand out (Figure 7.19), while using a wide aperture to blur out the background helps capture quieter moments (Figure 7.20).

Figure 7.19

Figure 7.19 The blue sky makes for a nice contrast with the red T-shirt (12x zoom).

Figure 7.20

Figure 7.20 This close encounter of the salted-in-the-shell peanut kind uses a 4x zoom and wide f/3.6 aperture to blur out the background.

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