I'm thrilled to kick off a new editorial series with local photographer Beth Ann Fricker! Today, Beth shares 5 great tips for capturing awesome playground photos:
As school comes to an end and summer vacation begins, everyone will be spending a lot more time outside. It's the perfect time to capture memories of the kids playing, especially at the playground. Here are 5 tips to help you document (and enjoy!) your time at the playground.
1. Throw out the expressions “look at me” or “smile” or “say cheese.” My favorite shots are of the kids just playing. I usually figure out my settings and wait for a moment. If I’m lucky they will look up at me, but what I really want to capture is the kids engaged in what they are doing. The photo below is special to me because my daughter could finally get up this structure without any help from me after practicing for months.
2. Use the playground structures to frame your kids. There's so much going on at the playground and there are some great opportunities to use the playground to add interesting elements to the photos you are taking.
3. Increase your shutter speed to capture motion. On my DSLR I set my camera to Al Servo, which helps track the focus on moving subjects. If you are using a Nikon camera the equivalent is AF-C. Another popular method is called back button focusing. Using one of these techniques will help you get more of your shots in focus. If you are using a camera phone, many apps allow you to increase your shutter speed, which may help reduce any motion blur.
4. Change your perspective. Think of alternative ways to take a photo; it pushes you to be creative! Both of the photographs below were taken minutes apart. For the first photograph, I was at the kids’ level and for the second photograph, I climbed into the structure and looked up for a different view.
5. Capture the in-between moments. For us, going to the park means a picnic. It's rare that we don’t have some type of meal whether it be a snack, lunch, or dinner. For other families it might mean reading a book or talking together.
And, lastly, put the camera away after you snap a few photos and enjoy the moment!
Beth Ann Fricker is a lifestyle photographer who loves documenting the emotional connection between people and their environment. Her business, BAF Photography, specializes in photographing newborns and families. She also teaches introductory to photography classes to parents in the Boston area.