Setting up posed photos is great when you are looking to achieve a certain look (such as school or formal), but for capturing your kid’s personality on camera it’s the candid photo that’s really going to give you those amazing photos of your kids. So how do you get great candid children’s photos? Here are some top tips.
Tip One: Evaluate the setting
The first step to achieving great candid kids’ photos is to take a look at the setting. One – does it offer a good background, or is it distracting? While you can aim for a larger aperture to blur the background, if it’s too bright or distracting then it might take away from your subject. Luckily, you can move around and try different angles until you find something that works.
Second – what about the light? Outdoor candid children’s photos s are a great idea, as the bright and natural light means you don’t have to worry about flash.
Tip Two: Evaluate what’s happening
Some of the best candid kid’s images are a matter of being in the right place at the right time and having your camera ready. Take a look at what your child is doing and where they are going – can you predict what will happen? It might just be a matter of keeping your camera locked on your child and focused, with a finger on the shutter button until the right moment comes along. Alternatively, you might plan to have your camera pointed somewhere they’re going to be, ready to capture them when they arrive (such as where they’ll come around the corner on their bike).
Tip Three: Choose camera settings carefully
While a large aperture was mentioned above (and certainly works if your kids aren’t moving around too much), for crisp images you’ll need a relatively fast shutter speed (such as 1 /125s-1/250s). Remember that, according to the Magic Triangle, this will also likely result in a larger aperture as well – so it’s important to get the face in focus as you won’t have much room for error.
You’ll also likely want to use a continuous autofocus (so when they move your camera readjusts focus) and continuous shooting (holding the shutter button down to get more than one image at a time). This might take some getting used to; luckily you have a great subject (or subjects) to practice on!
Tip Four: A little direction can make a difference
Candid doesn’t have to mean that your child has to be entirely unaware of what’s happening, so if you want them to run, jump, head in a certain direction, etc. feel free. But, if you have a child that freezes and slaps on a fake smile whenever they see the camera you might be better off sticking to the incognito approach below.
Bonus tip: If your camera has it, use Live View (on your LCD screen) and hold the camera in your lap, it will look less like you’re taking photos and it may make it easier to take candid photos.
Tip Five: A long lens helps
A telephoto lens will be your biggest ally when it comes to candid children’s photography, as it will let you zoom in on happy faces from farther away (a big advantage when you want real expressions and emotions). That’s not to say that you can’t get great candid photos without a telephoto, but it will help your kids act more naturally if they don’t have a camera right in their faces.
How do you approach candid kids’ photography? Do you have any tips or tricks for taking great candid children’s photos you would like to share? Please do!