By guest blogger: Rich Bucich
This is the second installment of tips to help you take better photographs of babies.
If you read my last post, hopefully you have a greater understanding of how your camera’s auto-focus works and the impact of good light on achieving a sharp, clear photograph. There’s much more to the equation however, and understanding the settings on your camera will give you a distinct advantage.
Good light provides a faster shutter speed for the camera. The faster the shutter speed, the more the movement will be frozen and “camera shake” will be minimized. In poor lighting, your camera will try to speed up the shutter speed by adjusting settings which may degrade the quality of your photo.
The camera will likely take the following steps to speed up the shutter:
• The camera will open the aperture (AKA f/stop) – this will let more light through the lens but will also require much more accurate focusing. The area achieving sharp focus may be very narrow, i.e. tip of nose is sharp, eyes out of focus. The term is called “depth of field.”
• The camera may increase the ISO* – a higher ISO will allow for faster shutter speeds but can severely degrade the quality of the photo. For best results with “point & shoot” type cameras, keep the ISO at 200** or below. Digital SLR camera will be much more tolerant in this regard, often being able to shoot in excess of 800 ISO with acceptable results.
• The camera may turn on the flash – the flash is your friend, but automatic settings will often create harsh shadows or over-exposed areas if too close to your subject.
*ISO stands for International Standards Organization and is essentially a measurement of light sensitivity.
**Higher ISOs settings may be required under extreme low light situations such as parties and events where shutter speed needs to be maximized. In these cases, the additional sharpness may trump any graininess. We don’t recommend high ISOs in baby photography because the skin tone can be severely degraded.
If manual settings are overwhelming, you will have a huge increase in your photo success rate if you just focus on providing as much diffused ambient light as possible.
Our Tiny Prints website also has many effective tips with examples which may be helpful as well. Please register and post a comment if you have any questions.