Assignment Objectives : 

Practice getting the right exposure - Assessing shutter speed - Try out different angles

Step 1 - choose an area

Find an area where you can keep your child occupied and sitting still for awhile.

Don't put the child there yet!

Examples include breakfast table, highchair, sofa watching television, jumperoo, child's table (doing a jigsaw or something), or buggy.

Make sure that the area is out of direct sun - you don't want sun falling directly on the child's face.


Step 2 - test the area

Here's how to set your camera.

1. LONG LENS - Choose your long lens or the maximum zoom your lens can do. 

2. ISO - Choose a suitable ISO. If necessary, check the ISO cheat sheet diagram on this page.

3. LARGE APERTURE - Choose your largest aperture. Remember smallest f number = largest aperture. Again, check my lingo page to remind yourself about this.

4. ASSESS SHUTTER - Assess your shutter speed. You are aiming for between 1/250 second or faster. Raise your ISO if your shutter speed is too low. Test shutter speed again until you're happy.

5. TAKE A TEST SHOT - Chimp. Check the back of camera to see if it looks about right. Check there aren't any flashing highlights of larger area of the photo. Adjust exposure compensation if necessary.

6. WRITE IT DOWN -  Write down those settings AND keep the camera on those settings ready for your shoot.

ISO 2500      f2.2     1/250 second 

Step 3 - prepare the child

This one may not go to plan!

Try to get your child to do what you planned. Often you will fail, because, well they have their own opinions about this. Try another day if necessary.

But.. if you succeed, hooray! Grab your camera quick.


Step 4 - first shot

Press your shutter halfway to test the exposure. Check your shutter speed is still 1/250 or above. Adjust ISO if not.

Take your FIRST SHOT, same as your test shot but with a child!


Step 5 - different angles

Now try out lots of different angles. Without moving your child at all - they are hopefully busy - see how many different types of shots you can get. Just move around quickly whilst your child is occupied.

Try : 

  • Different angles (side on / front on)
  • Close up & far away
  • High and low (stand on a chair / kneel down)
  • Take a pullback shot too


Test shot & the first shot with child are shown below.

In this case it was a really dark grey day, so very poor light. I had to put my ISO up to 2500. With a younger & more wriggle child I probably would have pushed up to ISO 4000 or something to get a faster shutter speed! My settings were ISO 2500 , Aperture f2.2, Shutter Speed  1/250 second

Next, I started moving positions. I stood on a chair, then stood on the table. Loomed over her, close-up. Then put the camera down on the table for a low view. And finally moved to the side for profile view.

This pullback shot, below, shows the large windows to her left, behind and in front of her (where I was standing for the test shot).


ARTWORK (below) - if your subject is creating artwork of their own don't forget to photograph that too for posterity!