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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

Beyond Books

Top tips for photographing your children
MyCity4kids.com
June 26, 2012
First Published: 15:19 IST(26/6/2012)
Last Updated: 19:47 IST(3/7/2012)
Easy to use free software such as Picasa lets you to make quick fixes and effects to transform your pictures before creating your own posters, collages or screen savers.

How many times have you gone back to view your fantastic pictures of a holiday 3 years ago? After the initial enthusiasm, chances are these pictures will lie forgotten occupying a miniscule corner of digital memory. Why condemn your precious photographs todigital obscurity when you can create physical treasures out of them. 

Giving us some tips on creating and then using our visual gems is SangeethaVaidya, Founder, StudioMemoir - specialists in portrait photography of mothers and children. She has shared a few ideas on what can be done with digital pictures as well as suggested practical tips and tricks to get fabulous results when photographing children.

"There are a number of easy-to-do options at the click of your mouse. Popular websites like snapfish.com, zoomin.com help you create personalized gifts, stationery or artwork using your photographs. You can choose from a variety of existing templates and create your own photo books, mugs, T-shirts, calendars, notepads, gift tags, stickers etc.," suggests Sangeetha.

Easy to use free software such as Picasa lets you to make quick fixes and effects to transform your pictures before creating your own posters, collages or screen savers.

If you are looking for low budget options, you can get a large printout from your local printer (not a photo studio print) mount it on a chart paper and let your kids decorate the chart paper with their art and craft ideas before framing it up.

Thematic photo books are an excellent way of preserving memories of a birthday party, a vacation or just special family moments, besides being thoughtful gifts.  If you are not happy with templates that you find online, you can create your own pages using any design software and print either from a photo studio or regular digital printers.

Shooting with children - use these Tips and Tricks
Go eye to eye - "The most common tip for getting creative photographs of your children is togo down to their eye level. But if you are looking for getting something unusual and more interesting, you need to get a morecreative and adventurous," says Sangeetha.   "For example, once you are at their level, move around and position your camera behind their head at eye level. Now try to capture what they are seeing. It will be interesting if you can include a part of your child in the frame. Try it out at your toddler's next birthday."

CandidCamera- Children are so expressive when they are not conscious of anyone watching them. When you ask them to pose, they will give you the most awkward poses and expressions.  So catch them in action but don't let them catch you catching them. 

Choose between a bird's eye viewand a worm's eye view - You may need to climb up on a higher level or crawl on your tummy to get the best shot. Use a high stool or a ladder to shoot directly down on your children when they are on a play date or just alone with their toys. Similarly get on your tummy and see what you can get if your kids are on a bouncy or a slide. You may come up with some gems if they are unaware of the camera.

Up close is best - especially recommended if you are shooting babies. Try to use a macro lens or use the close up icon on your camera to do this and focus on any feature of your baby - for example, his eye lashes or little toes or an endearing shot of your baby's fingers tightly wrapped around her mum's hand. 

Propsare fun- Any object can be turned into a prop, but try to use some unusual ones.  If your baby is in the cot - photograph the baby with the cot mobile in the foreground. You can even use a "human prop". Ask a grandparent to be in the background - at a distance - while you focus on your toddler - playing in the foreground.

Have fun with scale and proportions - Imagine a large big canvas with a tiny tree at the horizon. Now try and adapt it to real life with your child. For example, imagine your baby on a huge sofa - propped up against pillows or a tiny figure walking up a long winding pathway.

Fall back on the professionals
While you may get excellent results with a state of the art digital SLR camera, it is a pleasure to have a portfolio of professionally shot photographs that capture unseen moods and moments of your children.  

An expert photographer will know the right moment and the proper angle to result in the perfect photograph. Their experience and understanding of the type of lighting needed will enhance the photography besides composing perfect pictures that become timeless masterpieces.

Knowing how to choose a photographer will make everything go smoothly to ensure you get beautiful portraits of your family. Make sure you see enough samples of the photographer's work to be convinced about their style.

Some professionals prefer to work in black & white while others like to combine black & white photographs with colour, using screens and filters post production to enhance the visuals.

Professionals experienced in working with children will know how to make your little ones feel relaxed enough to get priceless candid shots around them.They will also know and advise you about thetype of clothes, hairstyle and complimentary props you need - the small elements that can turn a "nice picture"into a "beautiful portrait".

You may also have a preference about holding the photo-shoot at home, studio or an outdoor location, and must discuss those logistics with the photographer beforehand.  Find out how rushed they are with time as you do not want to get stuck in a situation where you are waiting endlessly for your turn while your baby is screaming. In a nutshell, your final decision on a professional photographer should depend upon your comfort level with their approach, style, location and of course their fee.

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