February 1, 2012

How to shoot a baby – the settings.

Held cell phone out arm's length.
Pressed elbows into my body to become a human tripod.

Babies are evil.

You’re about to take their photo annnnnd they turn their head. They hear the autofocus beep and they crawl away. They see your Android phone and try to eat the thing.

And yet, every once in while they give you that smile that makes it all better, and you dutifully forget everything else and start snapping away. Question is – what’s the best way to use your camera to capture a little one? To help, I’ve created this handy chart of things to consider when you’re using a point-and-shoot or cell phone:

With a Point-and-Shoot
Point-and-shoot cameras give you more creative control.

Tv or S. Set your shutter speed at 1/125 to catch a moving baby.

Match it to the room you’re in, or shoot in RAW and fix it later.

1/125th. You can go down to 1/60th if the baby is sleeping.

Sets automatically if you’re in Tv or S.

Lower if it’s bright, higher if it’s dark (ISO 400 if it’s an older camera. 800+ for newer).

Use the “macro” setting and anticipate where the baby is going to be.

Near a window if you can, flash only if you must.

Don’t Forget!
Look for messy faces, drooling or other distractions.

With a Cell Phone
Using a cell phone with the stock software is often like using a point-and-shoot on “Auto.” If you can, use a program that lets you adjust settings like the point-and-shoot. If you’re going total auto, “light” is going to become a big part of what you do. Here’s how to give photos enough light to shoot properly.

Get near the brightest amount of light if you can. Flash only if you really have to.

Focus on an “area” and wait for the baby to show up.

Trigger with your headphones (iPhone) or timer (Android). Try not to tap the screen, it creates shake.

Don’t Forget!
Be a human tripod. How you hold your phone will help you make shots in dark room a bit crisper.

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