There are so many more of you mommies out there with digital SLR cameras these days. I know why you bought it. You want great photos of your kids! Well, unfortunately just because you have that sucker, it doesn’t mean your photos are going be amazing unless you learn how to use it! So, I thought I would help you out just in time for all of those photos you want to take of your little ones in front of the tree!

Please, disreguard the less than trilling photos of Jesse. I took a quick one today to illustrate this post. I also caught him right before his nap. So, I guess I should start my lesson with #1. Make sure your kids are fully rested :-)

#2. Practice all of the following with a doll or large object so you are ready when it’s time for the kids turn! I’m sure you know by now they will give you a total of 2 minutes if you are lucky, so it’s best you have it all figured out before hand.

#3.Pull your kids out in front of your tree. At least 3 feet to create dept of field.

#4. Get down to their level. You want to be level with their eyes and not looking down at them.

#5. Turn off your flash! Granted, unless you have lenses with a 2.8 f stop or lower this might present a challenge so make sure you are doing this at the brightest part of the day in that particular room.

#6. Bump up your ISO. Yep, it might be time to open up your maual to figure out how to do that! You can read more about what ISO means HERE. Basically, you need a higher ISO in darker settings in order to produce a faster shutter speed.

#7. Set to AV, then adjust your aperture to 4.0 or as low as your camera allows.  By choosing your aperture setting your camera will then figure the best shutter speed setting. The aperture (f-stop) controls depth of field. Depth of field is the amount of area closer or further away from the camera that is in “acceptable” focus from the point that is in the sharpest focus. Opening the f-stop to a smaller f-stop number, will allow more light into the camera, but will decrease the depth of field. This is how you get the “bokeh” or blur of the tree in the background (above right photo) that everyone loves.

#8. If your images are looking a little dark or blurry, then set your camera to manual. Set your aperture to 4.0 lower and experiment with different shutter speeds until you think you nailed it. Don’t be afraid to grab a tripod to help steady the camera, plus it is always good to keep your face out from the back of the camera so your kids can react to your expressions.

*NOTE: make sure your shutter speed is not under 1/100 sec. Kids move a lot and anything below will cause blurred eyes or hands.

I hope this was helpful!  Happy shooting and Merry Christmas! XO, Jaime



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