Tips for Using a Digital Camera for Photos of Children or Pets

Expert (97 Recommendations and 21 Compliments)

The key for photos of young children and pets is timing and speed - while simple portraits aren’t too difficult, the unpredictability of kids and animals make them especially difficult subjects to capture.

Grab your subject’s attention: Children and pets are difficult because they often won’t hold still for the camera - they can get easily distracted, fidgety, or if you’re taking candids, run off or face away from the camera at any moment. There’s a reason we always tell people to “say cheese” when we take pictures - it’s to grab your subject’s attention, and make sure they’re facing and posing for the camera. Rather than waiting or chasing after the perfect shot, simply yell out and grab your subject’s attention.

Anticipate the moment: One of the difficulties with digital cameras is shutter lag - the delay between pressing the shutter button and the camera actually taking the photo. Play around with your camera to get a feel for this shutter lag. Then when you’re taking photos, anticipate the shot you want and learn to click the shutter a few moments before it actually happens.

Try out interesting perspectives: One of the most important aspects of any kind of portraiture is the vantage point you choose. One can always take snapshots from standing-level height, but all your photos will have the same boring perspective. Try to change up your height (get up really high and shoot directly downward, or crouch down to the same height as your child or pet) and also change up your subject distance (stand far away and zoom in, or get up close and zoom out) for some variety in your shots.

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