Tip #2: Get to Know Your Camera

March 22, 2010

Here’s the second in our 10-part series of articles from Sabra Krock, on how to best capture images of your child.

Point-and-shoot cameras can be a slippery slope. They make picture-taking a fully automated process, but the automatic settings don’t always allow you go make the most out of a shoot. Getting to know a few things about your camera will enable you to get more creative with your shots. Here are some tips for things to research in your camera manual:

1. Learn how to turn the flash off your camera. I’ve said it already and I’ll say it again. Natural, available light is far superior to flashbulb light, so make use of it as often as you can. (If you missed my post last week, which was all about shooting with natural light, click here.)

2. Learn whether your camera will allow you to manually change its aperture setting.  The wider the aperture (or said otherwise, the lower the f-number), or the size of the opening in the lens, the shallower the depth of field will be in your image. You have probably noticed and admired professional photos that have a softly blurred background and focus only on the primary subject. You can achieve this technique too by experimenting with your aperture setting.

3. Learn how to change the shutter speed of your camera. A fast shutter speed (1/250th of a second) will freeze even the fastest-moving child, while a slow shutter speed may create some pleasing motion blur that gives you visual clues about how the subject moving. Play around and see what happens!

4. Learn how to adjust the ISO of your camera (the sensitivity of your camera to light). You can often bump up the ISO of your camera to compensate for low-light conditions and avoid using a flash even in dim light.

Now for an example:

I captured this image late in the day when the sun had faded. But because I bumped up the ISO (ISO 2500) of the camera and widened the aperture (f 2.0), I was able to get a well-exposed and tack-sharp image anyway. Notice how the depth of field is relatively shallow due to the aperture setting. This has a very pleasing effect of focusing attention on the sharp areas of the photograph.


This is the second installment in a weekly series of posts by Manhattan photographer Sabra Krock on how to take better photographs of your child. Come back next Monday for Tip #3: Get Candid.

If you didn’t get a chance to read the first posting by Sabra just click here:

Tip #1: Turn Your Flash Off and Use Natural Light

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