How to take a Beautiful Portrait of Your Child Infant Baby
This shot is all in the crop. Something probably not done at the time of photographing. We'll tackle the basic rules to follow in creating such an image that displays clever depth of field, clear focus on the subject and a beautiful exposure of the foreground and background.
1 x DSLR Camera Body
1 x All Circular Polariser Filter (A handy filter to have that acts like a pair of Polaroid glasses, for this shot it helps create the clarity and balance between the sky and ground)
1 x Lens Hood to fit lens (Not that necessary but desirable none the less to reduce flare when shooting outdoors)
1 x White Reflector (60cm+) (Used for creating an additional light source, cheaper than a flash and very useful. It may mean that you need a helper or if you are lucky you can hold it in one hand while shooting with the other)
1 x props (Dandelion in this case) (Your choice, whatever helps engage your subject is good, something that is associated with that person is even better, irony translates well in photography too.. Ie: A Dad holding a hammer!, A Mum holding a hammer!)Method
1. Combine camera and lens. Attach polarising filter and lens hood. We could say insert battery too, but I think you get the gist
2. Compose image and frame the subject using the rule of thirds.
Composition is a subject all in itself. Our best advice is that if you are creative then trust your instinct, let it run free, do what feels good to you. Read up on the rule of 1/3rds to give you some direction. This is the fun part so enjoy yourself.
3. Test and balance the exposure to match that of the foreground with the background.
Most cameras will do this for you if on auto. However you will need to shoot this in aperture priority mode so that you can control the aperture, instead of the camera controlling the aperture.
You will set the camera onto f4 by using the aperture priority mode AV on Canon and A for Nikon. This will then let the camera decide the right shutter speed for you, that's right you do not need to set the shutter speed, the camera sets that for you. When you look through the viewfinder you will see a setting at the bottom that looks like this:
F4.0 showing you the aperture
Ie: 1/250 Showing the shutter speed. (This is one, two hundred and fiftieth of a second)
Note: If the speed drops below 1/70th it may be advisable to use a tripod unless your lens or camera has image stabilisation.
4. Be sure to use the white reflector to bounce light onto the subject.
Use the reflector to cast light from the sun to the dark side of the subjects face, under the chin or onto the subject itself. It's fun and you'll pick it up in no time.
5. Also making sure to turn the circular polarising filter to suit the darkness of the sky.
Usually a circular polariser rotates, look through the view finder at your subject and slowly rotate the filter. Once the image is balanced, you'll see it when it happens, that's it.
6. Take note to keep the aperture at F4 or wider
A big aperture gives the image a smaller depth of field giving that nice blurred look in the areas that are not important and a nice sharp image where it is. This helps create focus and also adds life to the image. This is what camera manufacturers refer to when they say Creative Control. You won't get this control in a point and shoot.
7. Using the lowest possible ISO e.g. 100 Doing this will improve the image quality. A setting of 100 is low, meaning the sensor will have a low sensitivity to light; this will affect your exposure, as the camera will now need more light to make the same exposure. So double check your shutter speed, as this will change whenever you are on Aperture Priority and adjust ISO settings.
Note: You'll notice that the ISO goes up to very high numbers like 3200! At 3200 the sensor is extremely sensitive to light, so much so that you can even take pictures in the dark. The side affect though is a phenomenon called noise, it's the fuzzy, blotchy effect you get that is not at all desirable or correctable in photoshop.
8. Re-Compose image and frame the subject using the rule of thirds.
9. Take your time in completing the shot making sure to use the props correctly. Be clear when directing the model on angles/expressions and most importantly be patient when working with children, it may take a few goes to get the image you are happy with.
The digital age is great, it means we don't have to worry about wasting film anymore. However don't just go crazy, pressing the shutter is an art. Try shooting in bursts of 2-3-4 shots, take a breath and go again, take two breaths and go again. Have a look at what you shot, make changes if necessary and then go again. Having a routine like this will help your model relax and get into your rhythm.
10. Shoot like no one is watching™