Kids parties and pictures go together like cake and ice cream. If you’re the designated shutterbug for a kids party, be sure you’re up to the task. A quick study of these valuable picture-taking tips shows you how to become a first rate kid party photographer.
If you’re going digital, make sure your memory stick has enough space to accommodate the pictures you intend to take. Delete or download as necessary. Check and charge the battery too.
If you’re using film, be sure you have more than enough so you don’t have to run out to the store in the middle of the action. Check and replace batteries if necessary. If your camera requires it, set it to match the ISO on the film.
2. Tell the Story of the Event
Approach your next kids party as if it were an adventure which you are going to record for posterity from beginning to end. This will mean capturing the significant high points of the party such as the guests arriving, playing party games, opening presents, and of course the cake and ice cream “Happy Birthday to You” part.
When you download your pictures to share with relatives and friends, organize them in chronological order to tell the complete party story. This is just as easy to do if you scrapbook your party showing just how the day evolved from start to finish.
3. Candids Over “Cheese”
Candids are simply more fun than posed pictures. Scope out party guests doing cute, interesting or outrageous things. Look for different expressions on their faces, capture them with a bow on their head or trying to pop a balloon with their bottom (a popular kids party game!) Those spontaneous moments are a photographer’s dream!
Candids give you many more opportunities for those silly snapshots that put a smile on people’s faces.
4. Keep it at Eye Level
For a more intimate and involved-in-the-moment picture, get down to the level of your subjects. Make sure your lens is at the same height as the children’s eyes.
5. Zoom In
This is the number one mistake most amateur photographers make when snapping pictures. Too much headroom, too much background, and not enough of your subject make for boring images. Pictures are so much more engaging when you can actually see who’s in them! Make a conscious effort to get up close and personal before you click the shutter.
6. Background and Composition
How you position and frame your subject adds to the appeal of the picture. To do this successfully you must be aware of the “bigger picture” in the viewfinder. First, make sure there are no trees or poles growing out of kids heads.
No decapitations either, please. By taking a breath and holding it, you are better able to hold the camera steady while pressing on the shutter. This prevents the camera from moving downward and cutting off your subjects’ heads.
Make your picture more dynamic and balanced by utilizing the “rule of thirds”. Mentally divide your picture into a 9 box tic-tac-toe grid. Now align your vertical subject 1/3 of the way over from the left or right. Then align your horizonal matter 1/3 of the way from the top or bottom. Practice a bit on this before the party to see how different subject placements effect the resulting photo.
7. Be Quick
Kids are usually on the move, especially when the sugar from the cake and ice cream kick in. Be prepared to capture the moment quickly. Waiting too long to get the shot will ruin a good candid and can even make antsy kids run when they see you coming!
8. One Pose for Posterity
Take one group shot of the party child and guests for your scrapbook. This is also a wonderful little remembrance to send along with thank-you notes. To make it more interesting, pose kids with costumes or props which relate to the party theme.
For example, guests at a pirate theme party can pose with their bandannas and eyepatches, looking like fierce buccaneers. Guests at a princess party could pose in their pretty dress-up clothes. Guests at a construction party can pose with their trucks in the sandbox.
9. Don’t Leave it in the Camera
Due to busy lifestyles, the tendency to leave cherished photos in the digital camera for weeks or months is great. Don’t wait until your important pictures are accidentally deleted or lost. Download them to your computer as soon as possible after the event. Similarly, make an effort to finish the film in your still camera and develop the pictures right away.
10. File or Scrapbook
This is an often neglected step in the picture-taking process, but it’s important to have a safe method of filing and storing your pictures. There are many software programs available to help you sort and store digital pictures on your hard drive. They usually have a free trial period to see if you like working with the program. Non-digital pictures can be scanned onto your computer, placed in a scrapbook, or stored in special photo storage boxes.
When all is said and done, you’ll have captured the special moments of joy and excitement at your child’s birthday party or other special occasion. A truly memorable collection that will entertain and make you smile for years to come.