Monday, July 18, 2011

Photographing Kids on Rides

Summer = Rides = The ever elusive Action picture

We went to the beach over 4th of July and right down on Ocean Drive is a little old Pavilion of Rides and games and carnival snacks.


I think it is fun activities like these that make memories. 
Our kids will remember walking from the Beach Condo to ride the rides, and see the sights, and eat the treats. 

I thought I would let you in on a few of my photo tips for taking good pictures of your kids on rides. 

Please note— I really know nothing about photography.
But have learned from past mistakes that when a memory is happening, you want to capture it.   I also use a Canon Rebel XTi, so some of the settings may not translate to you beloved Nikon lovers.  Not that I really know what these settings mean.  But adjust them, play with them… learn them.


Rule Number 1 --- Take a photo before the ride starts.
I know you want the action shot, but 9 out of 10 times, your best shot will be the one you took before the ride started.


The picture above and the one right below are were taken right when Helen boarded the fire truck… her first ever ride alone. 
We cheered, we clapped, mommy snapped some cute pics


She was a happy little creature…. and then the ride started.
I snapped away as the firetruck went by… and the same little smirk was plastered on Helen’s face the WHOLE time.

IMG_0299   IMG_0300   IMG_0310

Yes, that was 3 times around folks… let’s zoom in for a closeup.

She’s still so darn cute. 
FYI--- she screamed bloody murder when the ride stopped.
Still not sure if she was sad it stopped, or if she was holding in her terror the whole ride.  But I am glad I got a picture of her smiling.

Carousels--  They probably deserve their own photography lesson… you have action, and you have horrible lighting.  Carousels are notorious for major Shadows.  Beware--- you will get frustrated taking carousel shots.  So listen to Rule #1 and just get a shot before it gets going.

Here is another example of before shot vs action shot…


Awww… aren’t we having fun. 
This was the first time Helen didn’t scream on a Carousel!

Now on to the action…  the faces are surely priceless. 
And maybe I can blame the blurriness on my husband (Just kidding honey)…maybe he needs to read rule #2 below.  

But Carousels just are a hard shot… I am telling you.   Your Speed has to be high, but then you compromise on clarity.  Your lighting has to be good too, and Carousels are sneaky in stealing your light…especially in the sun.    So my advice on Carousels is Remember Rule #1 – take a shot before the action.

Rule # 2 – Find a good spot where your kids will get a good laugh!
This ride (below) flipped them around the curve and we got the BEST smiles, laughs and screams from them!  Find the spot, focus in and snap a pic of the stranger girl in front of your child.  Then pre focus again, and right when you spot your little cutie and  get that smile you’ve been waiting for… SNAP!


Rule #3 – Bump your ISO up and DON’T use the flash.  I don’t like using the flash ever, really.   (which means don’t use Auto setting – I prefer the P-Program setting or the AV-Aperature Priority setting)
But bump the ISO up so you can get the action shot.   Also play with your white balance.  I am pretty sure in a dark setting, bumping up the white balance helps with least it does for me. 



It had just gotten significantly darker in these pictures, and I was determined NOT to use the flash.  I adjusted the settings, and bumped my white balance up, and the pic turned out great…but still not ideal.  So I tweaked it some more….

And got the best shot of Carson giving me the thumbs up before the ride started!  The settings were great for capturing the moment!

Rule #4 – Use the Light God has given you.
I thought I had gotten some great shots above, and was content.  But it got better!  I had put the camera down and enjoyed just watching, and I realized that a light from a neighboring ride was glowing right on them at a certain curve.


And it was magic.  A photography gift from above, when settings are right, lighting is ideal (even at 9:00 at night), children are smiling, and pictures are in focus.   


Rule #5 – Enjoy your kids.  Capture the memory, but enjoy the moment.  Get the picture, then put the camera down and wave… and clap, and laugh with them.  Hug your hubby, and tell him
“They are going to remember this the rest of their lives”


Give them a memory of spinning around that ride seeing mom and dad laughing and smiling and cheering them on, not seeing a big black camera in front of your face. 

        We must MAKE the memory in order to capture the memory. 
                                Happy photo snapping friends! 

What photography tips do you have to offer?