Whether you’ve just purchased a new camera (congrats!), or really haven’t had a chance to get to know your latest acquisition, there are a few things you should understand about your camera if you want to be able to create better child portraits, such as:

Know The Magic Triangle

You can learn about the magic triangle here, but suffice it to say it is the building block of your images. Therefore, you should learn how to access each component and when to use them. These components are:

Shutter speed: How fast/slow can your camera take an image? Fast shutter speeds are able to freeze motion, such as when your kids are playing sports.

Aperture: This refers to the opening in your lens that lets in light. More light means you can use faster shutter speeds – but is dependent on your lens, not the camera itself.

ISO: This is a measure of the sensitivity of your camera’s sensor; there will be a minimum and maximum range. Increasing the ISO lets you take images in lower light without using flash, but can lead to grain (noise) on the image. Learn your camera’s limits.

Hand in hand with these components comes the ability to learn to set them – if you’re just going to stay in automatic mode then what’s the point of investing in such a robust camera?

westchester studio family photographer_-70 jane goodrichExposure Compensation

Don’t you hate it when your images come out too light or dark? Changing one of the above settings will not affect this result; you need to be able to tell your camera to adjust the image brighter or darker. It’s easy to use – so grab your owner’s manual and figure out how (or read this to get started). It will come in handy when you are taking photos of your kids when there is a bright light source behind them, or when overall conditions are fairly bright (such as when it’s snowing – which it seems to do all the time these days).

Focus Modes

You probably know that you can let your camera focus for you (autofocus), or you can turn the switch on your lens off and focus manually using the ring on your lens. If not, you’ve learned something new! However, your camera will also likely come equipped with different focus modes, one which is good for portraits or kids who aren’t moving around too much, another which is perfect for kids on the go as it will adjust focus as your subject moves. Many cameras also offer a blend of both modes.

Learn the modes, they can make the difference between a blurry picture and a perfect one!

What Else?

There are a ton more options your DSLR camera offers that help you take amazing photos of your kids, such as exposure modes, white balance, file format (some are better for editing), as well as the different semi-automatic and manual modes you can use to take control of your camera and really get into the art of taking great photos. Trust me, it’s well worth the effort to find out just what your DSLR camera can do.

Still not sure where to start? Take a class, read some more, or take out a book from your library!


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