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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:03 am 
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Hi everyone, I've started this sticky thread for anyone who has great tips or advice on photographing babies or children. I've also opened it to discuss an equipment paradox I've come across when photographing my friend's kids and wondered what everyone else thought...

Kids and babies often move quickly and unpredictably, so having a camera that focuses and fires quickly is a boon. This would suggest a DSLR would be the best bet, and they also of course have the benefit of delivering superior quality in low light than a typical compact.

BUT the more photos of kids and babies I take, the more I find the relatively small depth-of-field of DSLR optics can really catch you out, even at, say f5.6. A kid that moves a bit closer or further away as you're taking the photo will almost certainly go out of focus as a result.

However if you shoot with a compact camera, you'll inherently have a much greater depth-of-field to play with, which I've found is considerably more tolerant to capturing sharp images of kids who can't keep completely still. Indeed I've had far fewer focusing issues when shooting kids with compacts than DSLRs.

Obviously though, the downside to compacts are slower response times and greatly reduced quality in low light.

So what's the perfect camera for baby / child photography? Despite the quicker and better low-light performance of a DSLR, I'm currently siding towards compacts simply for the higher success rate I'm currently having with them in terms of focusing.

Once again to clarify, I'm not talking about focusing on a subject that's sitting perfectly still - I'm talking about a subject that may be swaying back and forth and dipping in and out of my depth of field as a result.

What do you think?

And please do feel free to share any baby / child photography tips here!

Gordon


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 Post subject: SX1
PostPosted: Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:07 pm 
How about something like the canon SX1-IS - you at least have a good frame rate for getting several shots of the little suckers in a short timespace :)

I find the machine gun approach works pretty well with kids as their expressions change so quickly. It's difficult though - I took a really nice shot of my neice only to find it was slightly out of focus as she had moved at the last second :)

Pricey tho :(


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 8:45 am 
Start as you mean to go on….

I posted this in December last year. It’s worked for us three times now and it’ll probably work again in July when the next ‘addition’ arrives.

Quote:
Check with the hospital in advance, some maternity wards are quite happy for a member of their staff to use your camera to take photos during the birth.

Your DSLR may be a bit too much of a challenge so, if they do allow photographs, consider packing a simple 'point and shoot camera' in your wife’s bag. When you’re in the delivery suite the last thing on your mind will be whether or not the bokeh is quite right.

My first granddaughter was delivered by caesarean section and the photos shot off by one of the maternity nurses were superb – perhaps not technically excellent, but a priceless collection nonetheless.


Obviously, a lot's going to depend on whether or not the hospital offer that sort of opportunity, but it's worth asking.

After the initial ‘excitement’ new born babies are really pretty dull creatures from a photography perspective. Naturally, they tend to sleep a lot - they do a lot of other ‘things’ too, none of them really that worthy of photographing.

Mother & baby shots are always worth attempting, but the ‘setting’ need to be right, otherwise you just end up with ‘snaps’ – not that there’s anything wrong with snaps, I’ve got several thousands.

I’ll not post them on here, but I’ve got some quality photographs of my daughters and their newborns. The girls wore black polo-necks against a dark background. Moody shots, but reasonably effective, especially in monochrome, if you can get the lighting right.

From about three or four months of age they start to get interesting – after that every single day presents its own challenges and opportunities.

As the hairyfrog has pointed out above, the "machine gun approach" works well - for every 20 or 30 shots I reckon to get one or two 'keepers'.


:wink:


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:58 am 
hm, not having tried this myself, shouldn't a good DSLR paired with a very quick lens (talking Canon's Ring USM lenses for instance) be able to keep up with a kid moving around? I mean after all you can use DSLRs for sports, too... and that's not really more predictable or faster moving than a kid goofing around.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2009 7:34 pm 
Nostrum wrote:
hm, not having tried this myself, shouldn't a good DSLR paired with a very quick lens (talking Canon's Ring USM lenses for instance) be able to keep up with a kid moving around? I mean after all you can use DSLRs for sports, too... and that's not really more predictable or faster moving than a kid goofing around.


Fair point. I'd not likened it to sports photography, but I see where you're coming from.

Personally I think the DSLR with even a half-decent lens will win every time.

In my opinion the best shots are the ones that capture that certain expression - that 'look' that kids often manage to surprise you with. Invariably the little buggers manage to produce it at the very moment you lower the camera.

At least with a reasonable DSLR you can engage in 'machine-gun photography', with a vengeance.

:D


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 19, 2009 6:30 am 
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With fast lenses and adequate light a DSLR will shine. And even when you're in lower light you'll still be better off with a DSLR because of noise. I think as long as you have a decent flash you'll be OK in most situations.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 2:02 am 
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Well, you'd have thought a DSLR and a fast lens would be fine, but as I mentioned, their relatively short depth of field can result in focusing errors on a subject that's both close AND moving erratically.

Most sports photography is with subjects much further away, who often move predictably, so it's a much easier task to track.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:06 am 
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Set your focusing to continuous :)

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 4:24 am 
I had a photoshoot with my friend and her babies. It was my 1st time shooting babies and oh boy. IT WAS NOT EASY!
Here is what i learned from the shoot:
-Baby cries! make sure u can deal with it
-Bring some toy to get the baby attention to look at the camera when u shoot
-Baby move a lot! so prepare to run around with them and get down to dirt if u have to.
-Keep your camera gear away!! ( they tend like the big DLSR and lick on it!)
-Shoot at large aperture is recommended.

and equipment wise, you should get a fast lens. I had to shoot with my 58mm and it is a manual lens... so basically i shot everything in manual... i would avoid if i could.

I hope my tips help... :P


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 Post subject: Hi...
PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 10:40 am 
Hi guys....

i've read all of the tips given and pretty much giving me more knowledge in photography...

BUT...i'm very very very new in photography and couldn't decide what gear should i use in this area(baby+mommy photo)....could anybody consult me on this matter.??

thanks,

Dw....


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:17 pm 
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I just did a shoot with my 2 year old last weekend, I am very amateur so anything I say I'm sure most people know already. One thing I did find helpful was to have my FZ28 on burst mode, you will have alot of pictures to go through but you have more chances of getting a good shot than one at a time and refocusing. I did try to get the background blur on some of them, some were sucessful, but like Gordon said, a short depth of field is challenging but if you get a good shot it's worth the effort. I would love to share some photos but last time I tried I couldn't figure out how to.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:12 am 
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Three grandchildren gives you a bit of practice, but what I have found is that unless you catch them off guard children who have lots of pictures taken of them develop a cheesy posed grin.

You also find that group shots are almost impossible, certainly with a chance that one of the three faces has their eyes closed or is pointing in the wrong direction.

I agree with the distraction behind you and slightly off to the side method (for those under 12 months old) as this seems to get a good facial expression whilst facing the direction of your lens.

I suppose treating the shoot like wildlife or sports photography would be the best approach.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2009 1:01 pm 
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http://www.flickr.com/photos/37592444@N03/
Here is the link to the photos I took last weekend.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 17, 2009 12:21 am 
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I think the solution would be to have a fast continuous focusing camera with a low fstop. Maybe a flash to freeze everything if it doesn't ruin the lighting.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2009 4:01 am 
I use my film camera arsenal for things like that my canon EOS-1 with booster with continuous 8fps or with my leica motordriven r6 with summilux 35mm lens f 1.4 my leica will beat any dslr lens out there( I love it when people see me with 35mm, some of them never even handle a 35mm camera and then they see the results from my Leica and just WOW when they see the pictures)


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