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Thread: Shooting Toddlers - Problem!

  1. #1

    Default Shooting Toddlers - Problem!

    Hi all,

    I have this problem when shooting my 2 yr old son.

    I want to him in the focus, with the background blur, conditions - evening time, no bright sunlight.

    But he keeps moving and he becomes a blur.

    Of course, he is also not at the age when he will actually stop moving when I ask him.

    How do I do it?

  2. #2
    Senior Member limwhow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Shooting Toddlers - Problem!

    Firstly, a very warm welcome to you.
    Use aperture of f/2.8, and AF point just to focus on his eyes. The other parts of the body may be out of focus, but that's all right.
    Then just adjust your ISO (indoor maybe 400, 800 or reluctantly up to 1600 if really low light situation) such that your shutter speed is not slower than 1/125. That should give you some sharper picture.
    Just my humble opinion.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Shooting Toddlers - Problem!

    I suggest investing in a large aperture lens, like a 50mm f/1.8; then you can shoot at f/2.4 to 2.8, and increase your ISO if necessary. I suggest targeting a metered shutter speed of 1/80 to 1/125
    Alpha

  4. #4

    Default Re: Shooting Toddlers - Problem!

    Switch on all the lights at home/put him in a spotlight area + bigger aperture (F1.8 or smaller number) + faster Tv + continuous shots (hopefully you get lucky).

    Oh.. just a suggestion. Catch him just before he wakes up/going to knock-out for naps - my logic is, he might be less active this moment, assuming you're trying to capture a 1/2 body shot.

    Have fun!
    Last edited by styloe; 3rd November 2009 at 01:38 AM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Shooting Toddlers - Problem!

    Thanks a lot!

    Sorry some newbie questions

    1. Why does it help if I use the 50mm f/1.8? I have the 18-105 lens, come with D90 kit.

    2. Going by the logic of lower f, 18-105 is f/3.5 - if I set it f/3.5, what are the other settings to get a good effect?

    2. How much is 50mm f/1.8 lens?

    Thanks a lot!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Shooting Toddlers - Problem!

    Quote Originally Posted by jwklow View Post
    Thanks a lot!

    Sorry some newbie questions

    1. Why does it help if I use the 50mm f/1.8? I have the 18-105 lens, come with D90 kit.

    2. Going by the logic of lower f, 18-105 is f/3.5 - if I set it f/3.5, what are the other settings to get a good effect?

    2. How much is 50mm f/1.8 lens?

    Thanks a lot!
    1. The 18-105 does not have a large aperture to let in more light. It's only 3.5-5.6.

    2. You would need to bump up your ISO in order to get a faster shutter speed. Also keep in mind that you'll only have 3.5 at the wideangle settings.

    3. Call the shops or look in the Priceguide section.
    Alpha

  7. #7

    Default Re: Shooting Toddlers - Problem!

    Quote Originally Posted by styloe View Post
    Switch on all the lights at home/put him in a spotlight area + bigger aperture (F1.8 or smaller number) + faster Tv + continuous shots (hopefully you get lucky).

    Oh.. just a suggestion. Catch him just before he wakes up/going to knock-out for naps - my logic is, he might be less active this moment, assuming you're trying to capture a 1/2 body shot.

    Have fun!
    babies are more grumpy during tht time, will be quite hard.

    some babies lagi more active when sleepy

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Shooting Toddlers - Problem!

    It is very challenging I know because I have a 2+ year old bouncy kiddo. A 50mm lens might be too long for indoor shoots. You can consider the Sigma 30mm f1.4. That's my favourite lens for photographing my boy. You mentioned evening ... around what time is that? Indoors or outdoors? If indoors and lighting is bad ... even shooting at f1.4 and high ISO sometimes won't work well. Try using flash instead.

    Quote Originally Posted by redname View Post
    babies are more grumpy during tht time, will be quite hard.

    some babies lagi more active when sleepy
    His kiddo is 2 year old and they won't be grumpy during that time (usually).

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Shooting Toddlers - Problem!

    Quote Originally Posted by jwklow View Post
    Thanks a lot!

    Sorry some newbie questions

    1. Why does it help if I use the 50mm f/1.8? I have the 18-105 lens, come with D90 kit.

    2. Going by the logic of lower f, 18-105 is f/3.5 - if I set it f/3.5, what are the other settings to get a good effect?

    2. How much is 50mm f/1.8 lens?

    Thanks a lot!
    Brighter lenses (eg. 1.8) allows you to use higher shutter speeds and thus reducing the chances of getting blurred shots. The 50mm f1.8 lens is usually around 100+ I think.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Shooting Toddlers - Problem!

    Personally, i am using 85mm to shoot my toddler most of the time. 50mm is too wide, i need to get too close in and that's distracts her from play and turn her attention on me, which results in smudgy lens. I usually fix a shutter speed at 1/200 to stop motion, cos toddlers' motion. I find that anything below 1/200 will result in motion trails when they move.
    Canon 5D Mark II | 24-70mm f2.8L | 50mm f1.2L | 85mm II f1.2L | 580EX II

  11. #11

    Default Re: Shooting Toddlers - Problem!

    I'm currently using Canon 50mm f1.8 lens (S$130) to shoot most of my photos nowadays. Very very nice for portrait. I did try to use f1.8 for my baby photos but the photos are very soft. I started to use my ext flash & bounce off the ceiling in my room & used f2.2-f2.8 to blur the background. The result is very sharp photos.

    You don't have to use flash outdoor with sunlight but you need ext flash indoor shots, even with f1.8 lens.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Shooting Toddlers - Problem!

    Sorry another newbie qn

    Does the f also control the shutter speed?

    My only lens is the 18-105mm - f3.5, with the D90.

    So if I set the f at 3.5 can I also set the shutter at 1/200?

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Shooting Toddlers - Problem!

    Quote Originally Posted by jwklow View Post
    Thanks a lot!

    Sorry some newbie questions

    1. Why does it help if I use the 50mm f/1.8? I have the 18-105 lens, come with D90 kit.

    2. Going by the logic of lower f, 18-105 is f/3.5 - if I set it f/3.5, what are the other settings to get a good effect?

    2. How much is 50mm f/1.8 lens?

    Thanks a lot!
    there's no problem.
    u jus need to know how to work the gears.
    i hv 2 toddlers, a 2+yrs n a 1yr+.

    a zoom len like the 18-105 is prefectly fine as ur child is movin abt and u can compose ur pic properly n faster than a prime as moving abt is not ur option here.

    here's some opinion i hv in mind...

    1) ensure a brightly-litted area.
    2) set ur d90 to use Auto-ISO, i set my max at 3200...
    3) aperature keep it as the widest possible.
    on ur top panel, set ur AF to AF-C.
    4) use the fastest shutter speed possible,, at zoom 105, u should use at least 1/150 of a sec.
    go try...

    u might wan to consider gettin a flash like sb600 so tat u can bounce the flash.
    enjoy
    Stirring up emotions with pics - cyliew

  14. #14

    Default Re: Shooting Toddlers - Problem!

    Quote Originally Posted by jwklow View Post
    Sorry another newbie qn

    Does the f also control the shutter speed?

    My only lens is the 18-105mm - f3.5, with the D90.

    So if I set the f at 3.5 can I also set the shutter at 1/200?
    The higher the f value, the slower the shutter speed is in order to capture that amount of light (set by the exposure).

    I think there's no way you can get the amount of light with f3.5 1/200s without boosting the ISO to a very high value for indoor shots unless you have very bright environment

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Shooting Toddlers - Problem!

    Quote Originally Posted by andeelym View Post
    Personally, i am using 85mm to shoot my toddler most of the time. 50mm is too wide, i need to get too close in and that's distracts her from play and turn her attention on me, which results in smudgy lens. I usually fix a shutter speed at 1/200 to stop motion, cos toddlers' motion. I find that anything below 1/200 will result in motion trails when they move.
    You're using a FF camera, so that's why 85mm is good. For cameras with cropped sensors, 50mm is really quite ideal for indoor/confined area shooting for shooting kids without being too close, but not too far either.
    Last edited by LifeInMacro; 3rd November 2009 at 11:21 AM.
    Family | Health | Happy-ness. . . my Flickr here

  16. #16

    Default Re: Shooting Toddlers - Problem!

    I suggest you use the built-in flash. This helps 'freeze' the motion. Set camera to 'A', aperture priority. Select the largest f-stop (ie smallest number) possible. This creates the 'blur' background.

    The other alternative is to set camera to 'M' (manual). Select largest f-stop. Select shutter speed to 1/125 or 1/200. D90 will automatically adjust ISO to get correct exposure. Note that if ISO too high, there will be some noise. You might have to experiment a little.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Shooting Toddlers - Problem!

    I have 2 very active kids (the youngest is 2 y/o), and here are my typical settings for shooting indoors:
    1. 50mm lens on Canon 400D (I use my legs/knees to "zoom" back and forth)
    2. Av at f/1.8
    3. AI Servo (shoot continously - definitely one will turn out fine)
    4. Centre spot AF (aim for the eyes; very important esp. at large apertures)
    5. ISO400-800 (I make use of available light via large windows if possible)
    6. Vertical battery grip for easy portrait shots
    7. No flash (not that it harms their eyes, but they become more relaxed without it)
    8. Shoot RAW so that you can "save" the shots if it is an small exposure problem.

    Kids don't have long attention span. So don't expect to shoot more than 20-30 images in a single session. Do in smaller short sessions. Play with them. Have fun. Engage them.

    After shooting, show them how cute they look in the camera.

    Enjoy!
    Last edited by LifeInMacro; 3rd November 2009 at 11:35 AM.
    Family | Health | Happy-ness. . . my Flickr here

  18. #18

    Default Re: Shooting Toddlers - Problem!

    Quote Originally Posted by glimss View Post
    I suggest you use the built-in flash. This helps 'freeze' the motion. Set camera to 'A', aperture priority. Select the largest f-stop (ie smallest number) possible. This creates the 'blur' background.

    The other alternative is to set camera to 'M' (manual). Select largest f-stop. Select shutter speed to 1/125 or 1/200. D90 will automatically adjust ISO to get correct exposure. Note that if ISO too high, there will be some noise. You might have to experiment a little.
    I DO NOT suggest using the built-in flash, as it will be too harsh. Use an external flash and bounce it off the ceiling.
    Alpha

  19. #19

    Default Re: Shooting Toddlers - Problem!

    I usually shoot my son with a 50mm f/1.4 as I prefer to shoot with natural lighting. I've tried flash diffusers and umbrellas but I still like the natural light because it looks more... natural?

    I'd recommend you set to shutter mode and select 1/250. Use ISO to compensate the rest. It's the unpredictability of a child's movement that's the challenge. Instead of using a flash to freeze the motion, use fast shutter speed. If 1/250 is not fast enough, push it higher.

    I'd suggest that you leave your kit lens for other shots as indoor shots with natural (available) lighting is rather challenging. You should use a prime lens (35mm, 50mm, 85mm or 105mm) especially if you are not very familiar with your camera yet, so that you do not struggle with settings when you zoom in or out.

    I used to shoot with 50mm f/1.8 and it was good. Now, I shoot with a 50mm f/1.4 and it is better.

    And like what LifeInMacro suggested, use continuous shooting. Just snap, snap and SNAP! You will get more keepers this way.

    Just my humble opinion ya?
    Last edited by gammatian; 3rd November 2009 at 11:37 AM.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Shooting Toddlers - Problem!

    All u guys dont throw poison, his lens is perfectly fine lah...

    Just push up your ISO, ensure that your shutter speed hits 1/125 or higher.

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