Three Tips for Taking Photos of Kids

Tips from the Professionals

Video Series: A Day in the Life of Your Son or Daughter

Get artistic insight on photographing your children from a pro.

Jay Kinghorn:
A Day in the Life Your Son or Daughter
(Video Tutorial)

Next time you are taking pictures of children, try these proven techniques and camera functions.

1) Mix-Up Your Levels

When you take pictures of children, it’s generally recommended to shoot from a height that is level with the child’s eyes.

That said, why not mix it up; you might like what you see.

From time to time, zoom all the way out and try taking a picture from a lower than eye-level height. Since perspective is accentuated with the zoom at wide-angle (W), legs will seem longer, giving children a slightly taller, more slender figure. Olympus’ compact digital cameras are light and small enough to make it easy to take pictures from very close to the ground without using a viewfinder. Olympus PEN and DSLR cameras have live view screens, which make it simple to shoot from a variety of perspectives.

Example photos taken from different heights & angles.
Example photos taken from a high angle.

What Happens When You Look Down?

If you take pictures from an adult’s eye level, the picture’s perspective will likely show the top of their heads, rather than their facial expressions. Also, since perspective is accentuated when zoomed at wide-angle (W), children's heads will be emphasized compared to their bodies. In addition, the ground appears as background resulting in a dull picture. When you squat down so your eyes are level with the child’s eyes you will get much better results.

2) Use Full-Time Auto Focus

AF Tracking Video

Since children often move around rapidly and unpredictably, sometimes the camera may take too long to lock focus. If your camera has a FULL-TIME AF option in the menu, set it to ON. The camera will then continually focus on the kids as they move around. If you camera has an AF Tracking autofocus option, position the autofocus frame on the child, and half-press the shutter button to get a focus lock. The camera will track the child and then you can press the shutter button to get the shot.

3) Enable Sequential Drive Mode

Another function in your camera that is useful for photographing children is the Sequential Drive Mode. This is essentially a rapid-fire mode and will shoot a sequence of shots as long as the shutter button is pressed down. You can then pick the ideal moments from the sequence later on. Your camera may have more than one Sequential Drive Mode option, so check your camera’s manual for details under the DRIVE topic.

In order for the camera to be able to shoot rapidly and write images to the memory card rapidly, the Sequential Drive Mode uses a preset megapixel count, so they may not shoot at the highest quality setting. For example, even though the camera is capable of shooting at 12 or 14 megapixels, when a Sequential Drive Mode is enabled, the camera may only go as high as 8 megapixels, which is still more than enough for prints.

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