Sunday, 6 September 2009

Taking photos of kids

Over at the DPR forums, we routinely see beginners or rather new parents who want to take photos of their young kids all the time. They have this "I wanna take a photo of them anytime, everytime, anywhere, everywhere" urge that, after a few years, I'll bet becomes "oh, maybe we should take a photo of junior, Hon, where's the camera, did you see it last, did we ever buy batteries for it?"

Regardless, it's nice to have the family moment and to treasure each other, so we still want to take a photo or two. Only, we can't have every shot we want, at any time and at any place - when the kids transition into a mid phase, they'll even cover their faces when you raise your camera.

Taking photos of kids has to be a case of social engineering and management - as the adult and the parent, you HAVE TO manage the situation. Not the other way around. You'll go nuts with any camera chasing after them - you have to stage the situation, set up the shot.

I just came across a Tamron video, I think some points are really funny, but it does reinforce the idea that you have to manage the situation.

Candice says that the Tamron she is using is "lighter and more compact" than the other lenses. I guess that's a relative statement - it is an f/2.8 lens (which explains it's bulk) but it sure doesn't look compact or light. Additionally, she's shooting in bright daylight and shadows on a DSLR, so the f/2.8 isn't vital for getting a high shutter speed, it's more for a shallow DOF. Which is not easy to work with, even in this staged environment when you have kids moving actively.

The other point is she's shooting in a high dynamic range scene. This means she has to sacrifice the highlights - many newbies don't yet understand this and insist that the photo is flawed when the highlights are burnt out.

Here's one from expertvillage:

And she talks about forcing the flash on or "fill in flash"

Carson hosts a demo for Nikon, baby photos, again in studio environment

Here is another one
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