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photographing your kids, part two

June 18, 2009
RachelOlsenPhotographyIt’s time for part two!  I was lucky to meet Rachel Olsen when I moved to Colorado and I LOVE how many amazing pictures she takes.  Her blog is always featuring an amazing wedding she shot or a family with their toddler having fun. She has come to my rescue by showing me some new features to try on my digital camera. Be sure to look at Rachel’s blog!  Here are some of Rachel’s tips:
1. Get to know your camera.  I know that the camera manual is intimidating and a really boring read- but a few key points can get you rolling.  Learn about the settings that your camera offers. 
-Does it offer a portrait mode?  If so start there and play around.  In portrait mode (I believe) most cameras select a wide open aperture (the smallest number possible) giving you a shallower depth of field  (blurring the background) which isolates your subject and makes them “pop” more.   
-If your camera does not offer a portrait mode or if you are feeling like you want more control, look for an aperture priority or Av mode.  In this mode you choose the aperture of your lens (the aperture is a hole or an opening through which light travels. More specifically, the aperture of an optical system is the opening that determines the cone angle of a bundle of rays that come to a focus in the image plane. -Wikipedia Long story short the smaller the number, F2.8 or F4, the shallower the depth of field (the depth of field is the portion of a scene that appears sharp in the image- Wikipedia  I find that a shallow depth of field does wonders in a photograph.  It blurs out the background making you subject the main focus of the image. 
-If you feel adventurous…and as you get to know you camera you can learn more about how the aperature, shutter speed and ISO all play a role in the overall exposure.  Once you get these three general principles down…begin to play around with them and see how creative you can get! This is when photography becomes really fun!
2. Find new angles & view points.
-Don’t be afraid to lay on the ground and look up at your child or sit down next to the table and shoot across at their eye level.  See the world for their point of view and capture it. 
-Also stand up tall and look down at them- that’s how you view them everyday…so capture that view so you can remember it. 
-Have the kids play with a favorite toy and get in close and snap a few images of them concentrating on it.  
-Sneak behind an object so that it covers up part of the frame it gives the image dimension and shows the relation of objects in space.
-Have the kids (if they are willing subjects) sit on a low chair or a rock, come in close and stand above them.  It is very flattering to shoot down on a person, it allows for light to catch in their eyes and helps focus on the face.
3. Watch your backgrounds.
-Look out for what is behind your subject.  If you use a wide open aperture (the small number) it helps blur the background and it isn’t as big of a deal then, but it is always good to be aware of.
-Is there a tree, pole, branch sticking out of their head?  If so, try to move so that you can avoid that.
-Look for distracting patterns or splotches of light and dark behind your subject.  Is the background so overwhelming that you lose focus on your subject?  If so try to move to an area where the background complements the subject instead of detracts from it.
**Thanks Rachel! 
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