I think being in education makes me want to share whatever I find useful and this is one of them: When you do portrait types of photography focus on the eyes.
This way you can capture crazy crossed-eyes pictures of your kid really really well. HA!
I wasn’t a fabulous photography student last semester but there’s one thing that my instructor said I was already good at: Aiming at the eyes when doing portrait type of photography. The eyes are the windows to the soul so in portrait photography it’s really important that the eyes are crispy clear — unless there’s something else that’s more interesting to focus on and there’s a different story you want to tell.
How do I take this types of pics? I give most of the credit to my camera, the Nikon D300/Canon XTi. They both have a very nice Auto-focus function. If you don’t have a dSLR, point your point-and-shoot to the face, push the shutter down half way to focus, hold your camera steady and click.
If you’re not sure how to set up your AF settings on your Nikon camera, check out Ken Rockwell‘s tuts. He’s got a few in there! If you have another brand, open up your manual and should be able to figure it out based on the info on Ken’s site.
When I take pictures of M this is what I do: If the above is what I see inside my Canon/Nikon, I would aim the center of the circle right on her eye. My AF is always set to Tit (read Ken’s tut if you don’t know what Tit is) and I use the center AF sensor. Once the eye (usually the one closest to me) is in the middle of that circle I push my shutter button (that’s the one you push to take pictures) half-way down. I can then shoot the photo or I can continue to hold the shutter button half-way down (to keep the AF settings the way it is) and recompose/reposition the camera. By recomposing the eye is not in the center anymore but since I kept my shutter button pushed half-way down the eye will still be sharp when I get to taking the photo. One thing to keep in mind when you do this is to not back/forward with the camera. You can recompose side-to-side but not closer/further from the subject. Moving in/out will require you to focus on the object again (pushing the shutter button half way down). Once I am happy with my composition I can then push the shutter button all the way down and click! The result:
There is one more tip when you do child photography (personal experience). Do learn to stop when the child has had it with you. Don’t end up with somebody like this:
Nothing was in focus.