I wish I started this blog knowing how to take great pictures of my kids, but I didn’t. I mean, my pictures weren’t always that bad, but I was new at this so, inevitably, I made some mistakes. Okay, okay, I made a lot of mistakes.
The top 10 mistakes that I made, and that you may be making, too, are included below:
1. Using the built-in flash.
I started out with a point-and-shoot and would mostly take pictures in the apartment I was living in at the time. Low light + active baby = lots of blur and dark images. To “fix” this I would reluctantly turn on the flash, which would always create ugly shadows, shiny skin, and very dark backgrounds.
2. Not keeping my camera available. From today onward, begin telling yourself that you are a photographer. So what do photographers do? They take pictures! Keep your camera near you often to tell more interesting stories of your children’s daily lives.
3. Shooting only in Auto. Whether you have a point-and-shoot or DSLR, it is imperative that you know your camera beyond it’s auto settings. IMPERATIVE! Read the manual and practice until you get comfortable with working with your camera to take better pictures.
4. Standing too close to my subject.
Learn your camera’s minimum focusing distance (check camera’s manual or go online to find this). If you get closer than that distance, your camera will have a hard time focusing and this will result in blurry pictures.
5. Not having a steady hand. I had NO idea how important it was that my hand be steady when taking pictures, especially pictures in low lighting conditions. I would always just casually whip my hands into my “picture taking” mode and start shooting. And the result of this was lots and lots of out of focus images that could have been better. To take focused pictures, your whole body matters. Anchor yourself and your camera (more on this in another post), then shoot. Or, consider using a tripod.
6. Assuming that I should get “the shot” on the first try. And this is why you should use the Continuous Mode on your camera. Shoot, assess, and shoot some more. Delete all the unwanted pictures in post-production.
7. Centering everything. The most interesting pictures, in my opinion, are those that tell a full story that includes a foreground, middle ground, and background. Centering your kids in every shot is boring and doesn’t do the most to contextualize your images.
8. Not taking advantage of natural light. From last week’s post, you know how important natural light is to your pictures! It’s key! So, when shooting, aim to find the best light or adjust your camera to make sure you have the best light for properly exposed pictures.
9. Waiting for my baby to look at the camera. Forget snapping your fingers and making silly faces, focus on capturing storytelling moments. If your baby does happen to look your way, then great! But, if not, just keep shooting!
10. Shooting at the same angle…EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I have learned that there is so much beauty and meaning inherent in pictures with a different angle. When shooting, don’t stay at the same angel. Move above. Move below. Or, move to the side of your subject.
What are some mistakes that you made when starting out with your camera?