How to take incredible pictures of kids

Due to their playful nature and unpredictability, kids often make perfect photography subjects. Every picture with kids is unique and will have a way of brightening your day up. There’s also the fact that kids grow so very fast – a few years from now, pictures might be the only way to fully remember what your child used to look like. Here’s how you can take some incredible pictures of kids. I was on a photo shoot in Boca Raton and shot some great pictures of my cousin’s kids. Shameless plug for his Oriental Rug business…

Taking incredible pictures of kids

  • A simple fact to keep in mind when photographing kids: most of them hate being photographed. Depending on their age, kids might find the act of being photographed weird, scary, annoying or simply intrusive. They don’t usually enjoy posing, either, which is why you’ll have to come up with ways to photograph your kids without them even realizing it. A smaller camera will help a lot here, as will a good excuse to stay in their vicinity while they’re playing or doing some other picture-worthy activity. Heck, when all else fails, you might have to resort to hiding from them.
  • We mentioned kids don’t like posing, but that’s actually a good thing: the best pictures of kids are taken while they’re doing their thing. Wouldn’t you rather have a picture of your kids playing and having fun as opposed to just standing there and staring blankly into the camera? Don’t try and force your kids to pose for you. Instead, make yourself a spectator in their world and take pictures during the best moments.
  • Timer or manual photos? Because kids love action so much, photos taken with a timer might miss out on some important moments, but they’re also the best way for you to take pictures alongside your kids. To get the most memorable kids photos, you’ll need to drink some coffee and man the camera for what could be hours, waiting for the goofiest thing you’ve seen all day to come along.
  • Speaking of settings, you’ll generally want to lean towards high shutter speeds. These will let you capture quick action, and we all know there’s no shortage of it when dealing with kids – running, jumping, fighting, rolling… Be careful with shutter settings that are too high, though, as they might give the picture a distinct blur(unless that’s what you’re after, of course). If your kids are playing with toys or reading, a slower shutter speed will do just fine and will make everything more vivid.
  • Flash is yet another setting to consider. Pictures without flash miss out on a lot of details, and you don’t want that when taking long-lasting photos of your kids. Flash will brighten up their faces and show their distinct facial gestures and grimaces, but be careful – it will also alert them to the fact that they’re being photographed. Your flash photo might be the last one in your covert kids-photo-taking session, so make it count.
  • Always be ready! Since kids are so unpredictable, you can’t expect a good photo session whenever you fancy. Ideally, you’d always have a camera with a quick auto setting ready so that you can capture a spur-of-the-moment photo. This is another reason why a smaller camera is the best choice for kids photography.

4 top digital cameras

You must have thought your troubles were over when you bought a digital camera while everyone around you was still stuck on film. Soon enough, however, you realized that the choices were merely starting to open up.

Digital photography is probably one of the fastest-evolving technologies, aside from computers and mobile devices. Big, medium, compact, dSLR, mirrorless, cheap, expensive… The sheer amount of models alone can be quite overwhelming.

For some reason, everyone wants the best camera that captures details like a pro, even if they’re just taking pictures of their pets. Digital cameras can go from less than $100 to thousands of dollars, so how can you know which one is right for you? Here are 4 top models, sorted by price.

Top 4 Digital Cameras

Canon PowerShot SX600 HS: For around $250, this camera isn’t what you’d call dirt cheap, but it’s getting there. A compact digital camera with moderate features, the SX600 HS looks to replace your iPhone’s cam as you aim to make photos of a better quality. It won’t bother you by asking for too much input, being built around automatic modes as you’d expect from an entry-level camera. While the picture quality is quite decent and the zoom is surprisingly effective for the camera’s compact size, the slow lens will make fast-shutter photography off-limits.

Nikon D3100: dSLR cameras have been all the rage for a while now, and every striving amateur photographer wants one even if they don’t know what these devices really do. A dSLR camera lets you change lens as you see fit and provides better accuracy when estimating the light on your photos, but is also notably larger. For $350, Nikon’s D3100 is as good of an entry-level dSLR as you can get. It doesn’t have any real drawbacks when compared to similar cameras in the price range and will give the educated photographer a good bit more control over how the pictures turn out.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100: Inexperienced photographers might dismiss compact cameras as unable to produce photos of a quality comparable to dSLR ones, but this is far from true. In fact, many premium compacts produce far better images than entry or even mid-level dSLRs. The DMC-LX100 is one such camera – while it might not be the smallest option due to its large lens, both the photo and video quality are astounding. If you don’t mind a fixed LCD, enjoy tinkering with features and are ready to give $700 for a quality camera, this might be your model of choice.

Nikon D750: You can’t say pro dSLR cameras without saying Nikon. The D750 is one of the best choices for advanced photographers due to its shooting performance coupled with tremendous picture quality. It also has a plethora of well-implemented state-of-the-art features like Live View. The price isn’t as good, though – $1,900 just for the body is quite a bit of money to give if you’re not particularly serious about your photography. If you are, though, expect the D750 to take your photos to the next level.

Tips for shooting great beach pictures

If you’ve been to the beach in recent times, you probably shot a few selfies and posted them on social media to let everyone know what a good time you had. But what if you want to go a step further and actually do some real beach photography? I was on Boynton Beach recently doing a photo shoot. Here are some of my photo tips for the beach.

The beach is one of the more challenging settings to shoot pictures in, and not just because you might get sand and water in your camera. You could say it’s a pleasant environment for people, but a harsh one for cameras. Here are some tips on overcoming this and coming up with some great pictures.

Bright, bright, bright beach pictures

Of course dealing with the brightness was going to form the first batch of advice. You’d be hard-pressed to find a brighter environment than the beach during mid-day(Heaven, perhaps?)

The brightness can easily stop an inexperienced photographer from taking good photos, and especially ones that show enough contrast between objects. To fight it, you might try one out of several filters designed to make the brightness less pronounced.

For example, a polarizing filter will do wonders for beach pics as it provides fullness to parts of a picture that might otherwise seem like nothing but a single bland shade of a color. While polarizing filters will tend to change the coloring a bit, expect the overall picture to be greatly improved as unseen details come out to light. Other filters you can experiment include ND and UV filters, although neither comes close to the polarizing one.

To fight the brightness, you’ll also have to find the right exposure. To get that truly great beach photo, forget the auto setting and be ready to take some bad manual shots. There’s no such thing as a uniform exposure – it will all depend on the particular day and location. In general, though, low ISO settings and a fast shutter speed are said to produce best results.

Don’t forget the flash on the beach

While it might seem counter-intuitive, flash for beach pictures is actually a good thing. You might have noticed that your beach pics are plagued by shadows over faces and so forth, despite the overall brightness.

Your camera usually won’t agree to use flash in such a setting, so you’ll have to force it. The results should be apparent soon after, and you’ll have a hard time believing you ever allowed your camera to fool you into taking flash-less beach shots.

What are you taking pictures of?

People seem to forget the basics of photography when taking beach pictures, most likely because of how breathtaking the environment is.

Everyone can take a panoramic picture of the horizon and sky. To create those beach pictures worthy of admiration, you’ll have to come up with unusual content for the photos – artistic angles, a different lens, people doing unusual things… Don’t rely solely on the visual appeal of your location to get a nice picture. Instead, observe your surroundings through the eyes of an experienced photographer, and you’ll see lots of picture-taking opportunities that weren’t apparent before.

How to shoot pictures of high rise buildings

It’s the skill of every good photographer to know how to include lots of details in a single picture. But how can you fit everything inside the frame when dealing with high-rise buildings?

These monsters can have dozens or even hundreds of stories to them, yet the average photographer is somewhere between five to six feet tall with an even smaller camera. Yet in a classic David and Goliath tale, a tiny camera and a tiny-in-comparison photographer can take staggering pictures of buildings far up in the clouds with the right know-how.

Gauging the distance of the buildings

It’s true in most other areas of photography, but here it becomes that much more pronounced: getting the high-rise architectural picture you want requires pretty much perfect positioning, both relative to the building and the sun.

Ask yourself the following: what do I want this high-rise building picture to look like? If you’d like to make the building seem menacing and nearly endless, opt to stand closer to it. This will produce a picture of an up-in-your-face towering structure. Being so close will also remove other objects in the area from the picture, making viewers ponder the building’s actual size.

If, on the other hand, you’d like to showcase the building in its environment, feel free to stand further away and get other structures and objects into the fold. This works best when you’re trying to showcase either a great high-rise building or a lousy one that looks much worse than its surroundings.

Minding the weather

Unlike many other kinds of pictures, high-rise building ones can turn out great in virtually any weather. For best results, you’ll need to know what type of mood you’d like to invoke in viewers of the picture.

If you’d like a gloomy and industrial tone, try and catch the building when it’s cloudy or raining. For a more everyday appearance that makes the structure seem accessible, wait for a sunny day and position yourself in a way that lets you capture the building being illuminated by the sun’s rays. And if you’d like to showcase the nightlife in the area, take a nighttime picture – the building will serve as a beacon of sorts. The possibilities are endless, but you might have to wait for the weather to run its course if you’re looking for that perfect shot.

Encompassing the buildings

To deal with the size disparity mentioned above, photographers resort to one or two techniques: a fish eye lens or panoramic imagery.

A fish eye or wide-angle lens is a terrific way to encompass more stuff in a picture, but has a very distinct look that doesn’t always go well with different desires of photographers.

If you’d like a plain-looking picture that still captures the entire building from afar, go for a panoramic format. This involves taking pictures on several levels in succession and then having them joined together to create a large, detailed picture. For a truly effective panoramic picture, you’ll need the perfect location to take the photos from as well as a tripod to ensure they’re all perfectly aligned.