Recently, my sister-in-law told me that watching how I take pictures has changed her method of taking pictures of kids. She said that she used to take just 1 or 2 shots of her child at a time, but she never felt like she got amazing pictures.
Then she saw me taking pictures of my kids one day and was blown away at the sheer number of photos I take in one sitting. She realized that great pictures of young children is highly based on persistence. Every picture is not fantastic, but the more you take, the more likely you are to get a really good one.
So here's an example for you. This is Brighton when she was about 3 months old. She was just starting to look happy in pictures, and I wanted to capture that expression. It wasn't quite a smile, but she looked quite content. But babies don't really respond to a camera, so I knew I need more than a few tries to get that look I wanted.
So I started taking pictures...
And more pictures...
...50 photos in all! Now, it might seem a bit excessive at first. But nearly all of this have something that didn't work out: a hand a bit blurry, eyes closed or half shut, less than ideal head placement, out of focus elements, or too cropped.
Those are all completely normal things in pictures! It's important to realize that the awesome pictures--where the stars align and the lighting is just right with the perfect facial expression and focused correctly-- are the exception! Your chances are so slim of getting that picture with only 1 or 2 clicks of your shutter. Why not increase your chances and take more pictures to get the one you want?
So here are the keepers from that 50-picture-string. They are exactly what I was looking for, but it took all 50 to get them!
In this instance, I was looking for a certain expression, so I got my settings all correct first, and then took lots without changing much on the camera. It helps that a baby is immobile and is not going to move out of the light. With older kids, my string of pictures usually has several lighting and angle changes because they are so active. All those changing elements are just more reason to take lots of versions of the same picture!
I don't take this many pictures every time I pick up my camera. This little shoot was an exception because I was looking for something very specific.
The real lesson here is don't be afraid to click away with your camera! Memory is cheap. You can always delete extra pictures (and you should). When you see amazing pictures online, you can be assured that those are simply the cream of the crop and there are many, many others that were less than ideal.