Monday, November 1, 2010
Ten Things I Just Learned About Photographing Kids—11/01/10
A play-by-play breakdown of a photo shoot I almost ruined
8. After some wide angles up close, I switched to a macro lens to go in for crazy close details. Their little faces are super-cute and blemish free, which makes them just about the only people you can photograph up close with a macro lens without creating a horror show of grown-up details. Eyelashes, especially, make for adorable macro shots.
9. In general I found that working wide open at ƒ/2.8 with my camera on ISO 400 and aperture-priority mode enabled me to get fast shutter speeds around 1/250th that helped capture fast action and create shallow depth of field. The shallow DOF is really helpful to put the center of attention on the kids and eliminate distracting backgrounds. Aperture priority helped make shooting faster and easier since the light, location and angles were constantly changing. And since I shoot RAW, any inconsistencies are easily addressed in processing. (I also overexposed just a touch—both to smooth the skin and to ensure plenty of detail in my RAW files.)
10. Their mom wanted the finished images printed in black-and-white, which was fine with me. It changed the way I approached the shoot, knowing that the shots weren’t destined for color, so I worried less about color balance in the open shade and dappled sunlight of the afternoon. In Lightroom I created a preset for the black-and-white conversions after making one that seemed just about perfect. I oversharpened a bit too—which you can get away with if your subjects have three- and five-year-old skin.
In the end, 90 minutes at the park on a hot summer day with two semi-crabby toddlers actually turned into a great photo shoot. We all had fun, mom liked the results and since I was a good boy, I got to go for ice cream, too.
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