This is the first installment of cameras and children, a series that will hopefully inspire you to take some chances with your photography and help you towards creating the images you want. One of the biggest questions I am asked when people find out I am a photographer is how to take better photos of their kids. I thought I would share some basic tips to hopefully change the way you look through your camera and give you the confidence to play around a bit more. There seems to be a lot of fear in using a camera, especially a DSLR, understandable since its an expensive piece of equipment and all the control settings can be intimidating. Cameras are meant to be used, they are (mostly) durable, trust me I’ve dropped mine on a rare occasion and other than a terribly crack and mangled lens filter my camera has survived. Forget all the control settings for the time being and just get comfortable with it. Get a feel for holding it and carrying it around with you. One of the biggest things you can do to improve your images is to really get to know your camera and just shoot, take your camera with you everywhere and take a photo whenever something catches your eye. The more you shoot the more you will be able to find your style, figure out what worked and what didn’t, what you like and don’t like.
Tip No. 1
GET TO KNOW YOU CAMERA
Hold it, you should be supporting your camera body with one hand and lens with the other. Is it comfortable? Look through your viewfinder, how do you know when your subject is in focus? Do you know what the light meter is telling you? Zoom your lens in and out to get a feel of how it works and what happens when you move it. Get familiar with the menu on your camera, scroll through your options, see what happens if you change modes or settings. Pick a shooting mode/setting you are most comfortable with and shoot. Pay attention to the signals your camera is telling you before you take a shot, even if you don’t know how to change them. Its good to start learning how to read your camera, even in its most basic form. *For more advance users I recommend setting your camera to manual and try to get your light meter to read right in the middle.
For those of you using a point and shoot or even your phone, play around with your settings and pay attention to when and what your camera is focusing on. Using you phone is another great way to practice, as far as phone apps go, this one is the one that I use.
Next time you go for a shot, look to see what your camera is focusing on, make sure its sharp and in focus. Next notice to what lights up inside your viewfinder, even if you’re not sure what it means, notice it. Figure out what it the most natural way to hold your camera and shoot away! Most importantly, take images of what you love and have fun!
“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson