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 getting great pictures of young children is highly based on persistence. Not every picture will be 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 needed more than a few tries to get that look I wanted.
So I started taking pictures...
And more pictures...
...until I had 50 photos in all!
Now, it might seem a bit excessive at first, but nearly all of these have something that didn't work out. Like a blurry hand, 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 everything is focused correctly - are the exception! Your chances are so slim of getting that perfect picture with only 1 or 2 clicks of your shutter.
So 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 even more reasons 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.
But 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.
So just keep clicking, and you're bound to get a shot you love!
GREAT advice! And, if you have a camera that can take multiple shots in a second (many DSLRs now can) when you're shooting action pictures, hold down the shutter and take a bunch. Start shooting earlier than you normally would and hold down the button to let the camera do the work. It probably will take a setting change in your camera, but it will significantly increase your chance of getting the shot you want!