City Moms know what to do when the clock strikes 4:30 pm – head to the local playground!
Swings are one of the simplest and greatest joys of childhood. From a baby kicking his chubby legs to a tween doing a flip, swings are a great place to capture your little ones at play. They can also be one of the toughest places to take a great photograph. Luckily, there are a few easy steps that will improve your outcomes.
1). Shoot early in the morning, late in the day, in the shade, or with the sun at your child’s back.
You hear this time and time again, but it really is the easiest way to ensure a correctly exposed photograph. You do not want your child to be squinting and you do not want to have any strong shadows hiding their smile. If you are in open shade, that is perfect. If you are in sunlight, choose to photograph in the direction that will place the sunlight behind your child.
2). Open up your aperture if shooting in true manual mode. If you are not shooting in manual mode, choose the “Shutter Priority Setting”.
A wide aperture will give you a larger focal plane, which will make it easier to ensure that your child is in focus since they will be moving. If you are unsure of how to set your camera up in full manual mode, go for shutter priority. This is the “Tv” setting on your camera’s dial. Set this speed to no less than 1/500th of a second if the lighting will allow. If this is not possible based on the widest aperture of your lens and a lower lighting scenario, go as low as 1/250th, but try to slow down your child.
3). Choose to either focus on shooting your child when they are all the way back in their swinging path or all the way forward.
Switching between photographing your child as they come forward and back makes focusing a nightmare! If you choose to only photograph them when they are closest to you or furthest from you, you can aim your focus more accurately. You can always switch and then photograph them in the opposite position, but I usually try to shoot a few photographs in one position, reset, and then shoot in the other position. You may miss a smile here or there, but there will be more!
4). For babies, swinging high is not necessary.
If you are photographing a younger baby in a baby swing, you do not need to push them very high to elicit a squeal. You can gently let them swing back and forth while adding in a song or your own fun noises/laughter. The combination of your attention and happiness paired with the swing will make them smile and kick with excitement. This will make it easier for you to photograph and safer for you to step back a bit.
It is always safest and easiest to have another adult on hand when photographing a child. That way when you step back you can focus on the camera and capturing the best photograph.
I would love to see photographs you’ve captured of your children at play. Please link below and I will stop by!