Kids and pets: every photographer, amateur or professional, has taken AT LEAST a zillion photos of them. Here are some tips for anyone who’s wished they could take even better photos of their kids/pets.
1) Rule numero uno, always, is get down on their level, kids and pets. Now, as I’ve always said, rules were made to be broken…but only if they’re broken intentionally. So back to rule numero uno…get down on their level.
2) Engage them (both kids and pets) in some sort of activity so you can catch them “in the moment”. They’ll stay a little more stationary, stop giving you the wide fake grin (if they’re kids that is…pets tend not to smile usually) and just act like themselves.
3) One of the biggest challenges to taking pictures of kids and pets is getting them to hold still–they just have so much energy! Engaging them in a slower activity can help…but what if they just won’t sit still or, worse, actively avoid getting their picture taken? First, stop making it about the picture. The worst thing you can do, especially for the kid who seems to move just BECAUSE you’re taking his picture, is to tell him to “Say Cheese!” or “Smile!” Make picture taking a game of sorts, asking them silly questions to direct their attention to you or telling them to close their eyes and then on the count of three open them and yell “Yippee!”. Then click their picture as they collapse in a fit of giggles. Basically, get them to forget the camera is there and THEN start shooting.
4) Another challenge is literally focusing on kids and pets when you have a point and shoot camera (which tend to have slow focusing speeds). The trick is to hold the shutter down half way to focus on your subject…and then wait until the perfect moment to release the shutter (push it down the whole way). This way, when the perfect moment occurs, you won’t miss it because your shutter is taking so long to focus. If your subject is moving, you can still do this–just make sure to follow the subject with the camera. That is to say, as your subject moves to the right, your camera moves to the right to make sure s/he’s framed the way you want; as your subject moves left, the camera moves left, and so on.
5) HAVE FUN!!! (And patience doesn’t hurt, either)