Don't Say Cheese! How To Take Better Pictures of Your Kids - Part 3 - Channel Your Inner Ninja.

by Eric Von Lehmden | October 25, 2011

The more you get involved in the photography world the more you may hear the term "photo ninja". Yes, we photographers like to think of ourselves as stealthy, sneaky, operatives who will go to any length to get that never before seen photo....yes, we are nerds. But there is something to be learned from this and applying it to taking great photos of your kids. The message to take away here is BE READY at any time or any place for a candid natural portrait. I am going to give you two different examples of being ready for the moment along with some sample photos at the end.

The first example is when you already have camera in hand and you are wanting to take some photos of your kids and they just aren't cooperating. Every time you raise the camera to your eye to take a photo of them playing to being sweet to their little brother (because that rarely happens) they either A. Bust out the big cheeseball grin and say those magic words...cheeeeese...or B. They get upset that you are taking a photo of them and refuse to keep doing what they were doing no matter how much you plead with them. And telling them it will just take a second is absolutely not going to work. The mistake that most moms and dads make is drawing too much attention to yourself and the fact that you are going to take a picture of your kids. You must act as the ninja acts...with stealth and cunning. If you have your camera in hand and you are observing your child doing something that you would love to capture in a natural way, try to pre-focus the camera on your child. Do not attempt to get the attention of your child by saying things like, "Oh, how cute" or "That is just too precious I have to take a picture of you". Nor should you make any sudden movements. After you have the camera focused you can put the camera by your side in a very unassuming, "I'm just watching you play" manner. When the moment is perfect you are ready to take the photo you must act quickly with cat-like reflexes and bring the camera to your eye (remember it should already be focused), compose your image and CLICK! You got the shot, without your child ever being the wiser. This takes a little practice and restraint, but you should be able to do this within a few attempts.

My second example is when the kids are doing something so cute or maybe for the first time and you have to go to the other side of the house to find your camera, take it out of it's case, run back to the other side of the house and by that time the moment has long passed. Keep your camera in a central location, and preferably in an easily accessible bag or pouch. Parents with kids you know that things happen fast so having your camera close by is a huge help and reminder to you to capture those fleeting moments of your kids. Same rule as in example one applies. If your kids are doing something you want to capture do not draw attention to yourself that you are going for the camera. Do it in a quick but calm manner (as not to raise suspicion). You could even go so far as to hide the camera behind your back while getting into position for your shot (This is an intermediate photo ninja move...just fyi). The takeaway here is to have your camera close.

Some other tricks and tips that could be considered photo ninja-esque would be:

  • shooting from the hip. That means you maybe have pre-focused your camera but you aren't looking through the viewfinder or at the back of the camera to compose the shot. (level of difficulty: High)
  • The quickdraw. This is when you may have your camera out, but something spontaneously happened where you don't have time to focus or compose. This is a "shoot from the hip" without pre-focusing. (level of difficulty: Very High)
  • The "I know what you are doing, but I am pretending not to notice so I don't draw attention to myself" move. That is pretty self explanatory. (level of difficulty: Medium. You would be surprised at how kids can sniff out a photo opp sneak attack)

In all seriousness, being ready and knowing when you draw attention to yourself and when not to will go a long way in helping you make amazing photos of your kiddos. And when you do get one of those gems you know that Canvas Press is here to make your photo into a brilliant canvas print.

www.canvaspress.com

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Tips-n-Tricks #345

The red eye tool in Photoshop and Photoshop express doesn't work on pets. Dogs will get yellow eyes and cats can get green eyes when you take photos of them looking at the camera with a flash. It takes a little more work to correct those.


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