Movement by Tara Herron

Movement & Getting in the Frame by Tara Herron

Many of us are so busy capturing moments of our children’s lives that we forget how important it is to actually include ourselves in the photos. There are so many reasons that I think moms and/or dads should be seen in photos. First, your children will want to see images of you loving and playing with them when they are older! Second, I think it is an exercise in self-love and acceptance. We are often so critical of how we appear in photos, but after taking many self-portraits with my babies, I have learned to see myself as they view me. Children don’t see your flaws, they just accept our love. I encourage you to set a goal of getting in the frame at least 3 times a month. You can take the photos all in the same week or spread them out. The more you practice this, the easier it will start to feel.

Now, we’ll get to the more technical stuff. Let’s talk about the gear you will need. I use my DSLR, a wide-angle lens, a tripod, and a time lapse remote. I use a $15 Neewer remote I ordered from Amazon. The remote plugs into my camera and allows me to be hands free, which makes for more natural interaction within the photos. There are many ways you can set up your remote depending on what kind of image you are trying to take. For instance, if I am taking a jumping photo with my son I will set the interval for every 3 seconds. I know the shutter will release after three seconds so my son and I will count to three and then jump! If I am taking a bath with my babies, I will set it to have a longer interval. Usually 15 seconds work because we will be in the tub for a while. I recently did a twirling photo where I set the interval for every 2 seconds. If I am doing a simple self-portrait where there is not a lot of motion, I will set the interval to 5 seconds.

I love to capture movement and play in my images. Therefore, many of the photos I am in are action shots. This makes taking photos fun for my children, which is very important to me. I never want them to be burdened with my love for photography. I often get asked how I create sharp images while having a great range of motion. The short answer is to use a high shutter speed and a greater aperture. The camera is already on a tripod so that helps to not have motion blur, but I will still use a shutter speed of 1/1000 if I know we will be moving. Don’t be scared to bump up your ISO to achieve the higher shutter speed!

Setting the focus is also important. If my son will cooperate long enough, I will tell him where to stand while I set focus on his eye. If he is not around or won’t stand still long enough then I will use pillows. I will stack the pillow exactly where I want the focal plane to be. Be sure you remember where you set the focus once you move the pillows. When I first started, I would use a tiny marker to know where to stand. As long as you have a larger aperture, you will have some wiggle room in the focal plane. Just make sure you don’t move in front of it or you will be blurry! I will try to keep an aperture of f4.0 or higher if I have enough light. I use automatic focusing. Then, I simply move the pillows, hit start on my remote, and start playing with my children. Finally, I always set the remote to continue taking photos until I turn it off. I truly hope you will try to get in the frame with your children more often!

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