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Photo Tips


Cameras Capture Kids on Film


If you're a parent or grandparent, you already know it. If you're a godparent, friend, or neighbor, you already know it. Even if you're a hermit, you already know it. But knowing it a getting the results you want aren't necessarily one and the same thing. Kids make great photographic subjects, it's true. They're warm and bubbly, always active, and cute as can be. Whether they're toddlers taking their first steps or teens off to the dance, children are naturals when it comes to photography.


But capturing a child's "best" side isn't always easy-at least not without knowing the best way to go about it. You can have the patience of Job and still not get the results you want if you're not comfortable with your camera. And nothing will send a child hightailing it for the woods faster than that old familiar refrain, "Hold it for a minute while I figure this thing out."


To be sure that doesn't happen, double check your camera's battery. If it seems weak (or if it's been in the camera for a year or more), replace it. Then check to see that there's plenty of film in the camera. Some point-and-shoot models won't fire if the camera is empty. Here are a few more tips for getting really great kid shots.


Get close.

Nobody likes looking at a photograph of three ants on a football field. Instead, get in nice and close (or use a zoom or a telephoto lens to accomplish the same effect) to fill the frame with the subject. Filling the frame also means you won't have to compete with those annoying, distracting backgrounds. And you'll end up with some nice close-ups of your children's expressions instead of a distant shot of three purple jump suits against a sea of green grass.


Get down.

That's especially important when photographing infants and toddlers. Getting down to their eye level will add interest and drama to your photos and help establish a person-to-person rapport between the viewer and the subject.


Get help.

Everybody needs a helping hand now and again. Or, in the case of photographing children, a helping thing. A toy or a key chain, for example, makes an ideal center of attention for a young child, giving you the time you need to focus, compose, and get exactly the shot you want. But even older children can benefit from props such as baseballs, basketballs, croquet mallets, and Frisbees. Props give kids something to concentrate on besides the camera. That means you'll end up with more interesting, more natural-looking photos. And where photographing children is concerned, that's the name of the game.

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