Here are a few photo tips that will make photos from your kid’s party stand out from the crowd. Kids grow up so quickly, so make the effort to get good photos, and you will cherish them for a lifetime.

Move in Closer

Each time you spot a subject, snap a shot and then move in closer for a better shot. Having your subject almost fill the frame helps your viewer understand and appreciate your photo. Also, details are often more interesting than an overall view. Keep moving in closer until you are sure the photo will successfully represent your subject.

Be Quick

If it is at all possible that your subject may move, bolt, fly away, stop smiling, or just get tired of waiting for you to take the picture, shoot once right away. Practice getting quicker and quicker to the draw. Do not worry about taking too many pictures and do not wait until you’re absolutely certain all the knobs and buttons are in their correct position. As a motto states, “Shoot First, Ask Questions Later.”

Compose Your Picture with Care

Even if you don’t plan on selling your photo to the Smithsonian, make every effort to keep it balanced and beautiful. On one level or another, everyone responds better to a picture that has all elements in balance. Strive to lead the eye along an interesting path through the photo, with the use of strong lines or patterns.

1. Keep the horizon level;

2. Crop out extra elements that you are not interested in (more on this is the next tip);

3. Consciously place your subject where you think it most belongs rather than just accepting it wherever it happens to land in the photo;

4. Play with perspective so that all lines show a pattern or lead the eye to your main subject;

5. Work with the Rule of Thirds, ie, an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally-spaced horizontal lines and two equally-spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections.


Be Selective

Discern what you are really interested in and center your efforts on getting the best photo of this subject, whether it a still life, your funny cat, your doggy, a friend, a family matter, a mood, a place or culture. Then be sure to keep anything that would distract out of the picture. Go as far as Ansel Adams did to remove unwanted elements. The easiest way to do this is to watch your borders – the edges of the view you see through the camera’s viewfinder. Then recompose if anything – such as an unattractive telephone wire, an old soda can, a distracting sign, your finger, or your camera strap – hangs into your picture. It can become more difficult if you want to, say, shoot a San Francisco cable car without a single distracting telephone line. But even in such a difficult case, you have many options. You can:

1. Focus in on a close-up that tells the whole story;

2. Move around until you arrange the telephone lines into a neat pattern that leads to the subject; or

3. Take a panning shot that makes the cable car remain in focus while the background goes blurry.


Focus on your Subject

Practice shooting with different apertures and monitor the results afterwards to learn how depth-of-field affects your photo. You will find that a smaller depth-of-field (and smaller f-stop #) focuses all the attention upon your subject. This is great for taking a picture of your child, your dog, or your husband – subjects stand out against a blurry background. Likewise, you will find that a greater depth-of-field (bigger f-stop number) will make everything from here to eternity appear in focus. This will help make those landscapes fascinating and lovely.

Look at the Light

By this, I don’t mean look into the sun – no, that won’t do at all. But it is good to see what kind of light you are working with. Which way are the shadows falling? Unless you want a silhouette effect, where your subject is black against an interesting background, it’s generally best to shoot with the sun behind you. How is the light affecting your subject? Is the subject squinting? Is the light blazing directly and brightly upon your whole subject? This works well if you are in love with the bold colors of your subject. Side lighting, on the other hand, can add drama but can also cause extreme, hard-to-print contrasts. Lastly, indirect light can be used to make your subject glow soft and pretty.