Topic Progress:

On the previous page I gave you some general pointers for photograohing kids our and about. Now let's get to the specific. I've listed several 'typical' situations. locations, type of shots that may be worth capturing. Again, far from being an exhaustive list, it's mereley here to make you think ahead to HOW best to capture these should the opportunity arise but also if you're low on inspiration, to try something new.

1. Foreground and / or background

This won't work, and isn't even necessary in all situations, but for a least a couple of photos this week, make a conscous decision to bring in both foreground and background and use them to enhance your subject. 

It could be as simple as shooting from behind a bushg or grabbing a bit of greenery in the foreground. Play peek-a-boo with your kids and capture not just them but the thing they're hiding behind

Photo By Katherine Green

Camera considerations:
  • First of all - zoom in! Or if you're using a fixed FL lens ( prime lens) go for 35mm or higher.
  • AUTO settings: if you're using auto but your camera also has presets, switch to portrait or Macro / detail mode
  • SEMI-AUTO - If you're shooting in priority modes, use Aperture priority and set your aperture value to the lowest number you can find. ( word of warning - when you zoom in, you may notice that the aperture value will go up compared to when not zoomed in. It's completely normal for most entry level lenses and no, don't worry about zooming back out )
  • MANUAL - Go as low as you can on the aperture and try to keep your shutter above 1/250s - push your ISO up if yo're struggling. 

Be careful about where your focus lands - if you can do so in your camera, switch to spot focus so you can be sure that your camera focuses on your subject and no tthe thing closest to the camera. 

Photo By Kay Gaywood

Photo by Amanda Vickers

2. Natural frames

Use elements in the great outdoors to frame your subjects natually - and try to be creative with it - it can be a naturally created tunnel of trees with the tree canopy joining the space between the trees, using a natural clearing greated by the greenery or even shooting through something to create that illusion. Use natural elements as well as man made structires to help build the images you want 

Lens and camera considerations:

Camera settings as in the point above. Lens wise - focusing in more will help you bring elements visually closer together ( remember the compression lesson we learned earlier) but in some cases shorter focal lengths ( = less zoom ) will work just as well 

3. Get on the ground

Especially when your kids are little, it pays to be close to the ground as you're able to capture their world from their perspective. Get the camera close to the ground and either point it flat ( horizontally) parallel to the ground or slightly tilted upwards. This angle helps bring a little textured foreground into the photographs ( blurred grass) but also show the world from ants's perspective making it look like a big wide world compared to your small person. 

Or for a change in perspective, lay your subject down on the ground and shoot from directly above them - it'sll be a faltter composition ( as in less depth not less insteresting! )  but since you're often able to remove some of the distractions, it can be really fun. 

Lens considerations: 

shorter FL lenses can work really well here as they allow you to get relatively close and still fit plenty of stuff in.

4. Into the woods

Planning a trip into the woods with the family? Think about how you might want to capture it.

DO you want to show the grand, tall trees, the vastness of the woods compared to your little one? - aim for a shorter focal length ( no zoom) and shoot from your child's height aiming to keep the 'ground' part to no more that 1/3 of the frame height.

Want to show how dense and mysterious the wood is? Zoom in and bring some foreground elements in - zooming in will compress the space, making it look like the trees are closer together and helping you increase the sensation of density. 

Want to show your little one on a woodland's path? Reverse the image proportions from the first picture and use 2/3 of the frame to show the path leading to your child, and the remaining 1/3 to the space 

5. Flower  patch / field

Found a field or a patch of flowers, now what? 

If there are plenty of them, show how vast they are. Frame your shot slightly from above to show the view of the carpet of flowers. 

Play with textures - blur some, bring sharp focus to others ( and your subject).  Hide behind them - or partially hide your child behind them rather than having the flowers behind them. 

Photo by Rebecca Walls

Have your kids interact with them - NOT pick (unless they're yours or you have permission) but smell, count petals, feel the texture of them, check if light gets through the petals, check which one smells the best, or hide things in and around them to have your kds look through the flower bushes.

But also, let them go a bit wild if they're up for it! An action shot, however goofy, beats a standing and looking shot in my book anytime! 

6. Big sky, wide vista

Summer often brings with itself amazing skies - the brilliant blue, the fluffy clouds, stunning sunsets. Make at least some of the photos so that it really shows. When you compose your photo, make ut unapologitally about that sky - that means giving the majority of the space in the frame to that sky ( or any wide reaching view) - make sure it fills at least 2/3rd of the frame if not more. Short Focal lengths will help you fit lots of it in and will also help you keep both your subject and the sky nice and sharp.

7. Dirt, yup, you read that right.

My children are what I believed is classed 'Mud children'. Somehow they look mucky within 10 minutes of leaving the house, sometimes even sooner. I've stopped fighting it, and istead just embrace it and show it off. getting all mucky is as much a part of our trips as anything else so I now make sure that I actually capture these. 

I like to get close and personal when I capture the dirty hands or feet or knees or the faces smeared with ice cream and chocolate and who-knows-what

If you want to highlight those details and focus the attention there, zoom in - it will help narrow the visual area and bring the viewers eye directly there. 

But I also like to use short focal length and get a bit close because it allows me to fit a lot of the environment into the background. It can mean some distorion if you get really close, but I find it works quite well in these kinds of shots.