Settings when photographing kids

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by sprinke, Apr 21, 2011.

  1. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Real Name:
    I'm curious what settings people use when photographing children who are moving/playing. I have a GH2.

    I've been experimenting with various combinations of modes, auto-focus, ISO settings, etc. Not sure I've found what works best for me.

    I'm also a bit befuddled by the differences between AFC and Pre-AF. It appears that AFC works like C-AF but only when the shutter is pressed halfway? Does the setting of Pre-AF (Q or C) affect how AFC works?
  2. Kingsfan

    Kingsfan Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 22, 2010
    highland park, CA
    Real Name:
    give em a cookie or something to slow em down
  3. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)

    My understanding (and I could well be wrong) is that Q-AF automatically starts to autofocus once the camera stops moving/shaking and C-AF will just keep autofocusing all the time when the camera is on. Both use more battery life than having no prefocus at all. I prefer to use the shutter release to initiate focusing and don't use either of those prefocus modes.

    As for AF-C, Wasabi Bob has an explanation here of what that is and how it differs from AF tracking:

    But on a basic level, I find that no camera I have owned can keep up with my moving kids at a short distance, so I use plain old AF-S and either distract them (give them a cookie) or zone focus by AFing on a spot where they are headed and timing the capture for when they get there.
  4. Travisimo

    Travisimo New to Mu-43

    Apr 22, 2011
    Much of my success photographing my kids in action depends on whether I'm indoors or outdoors. The latter is easier simply because focusing is faster and shutter speeds are higher. Indoors, it's an entirely different matter. I have not found continuous focusing to really help in that situation, mainly because kids move in an unpredictable manner and the camera can never keep up! Usually an external flash can help, as well as using a wider lens to increase the depth of field. My biggest mistake was trying to capture closeups on my kids in action indoors - it's just not going to happen with any kind of reasonable success.
  5. mauve

    mauve Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 9, 2010
    Paris, France
    The 'best' I achieved :

    <table style="width:auto;"><tr><td><a href="">[​IMG]"800" width="800" /></a></td></tr><tr><td style="font-family:arial,sans-serif; font-size:11px; text-align:right">De <a href="">test</a></td></tr></table>

    1600 ISO - 20mm @f/1.7 - 1/80th sec.

    The scene was only lit by a 60W bulb from the ceiling. No, I won't show the other 65 snapshots around this one :wink:.

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  6. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    My dinosaur FF cameras will easily focus on close action shots even under low light conditions (ISO 1600 and 3200). But I digress from the OP ...

    I haven't any experience with the GH2, but my GF1 doesn't follow action very well, in those situations and when I can, I find that pre-focusing (as Amin mentioned) is a very technique successful. I do recognize the limitations of pre-focusing and that it is not a very satisfying photographic technique and severely limits total images obtained and where/when images can be taken.

    To barely stop action I'd start with shutter speeds of 1/125 then check the LCD (max out the zoom on the LCD when checking for sharpness). If the kids are moving very quickly and are very close then you will have to adjust the shutter speed up to 1/250, then recheck the LCD for sharpness, et cetera.

    Meanwhile, you will/may have to adjust the ISO and aperture to accomodate the faster shutter speeds. Firstly adjust the aperture, remember that the smaller the f-Stop/number the larger the aperture and the less DOF you will have making focusing more critical.

    If you cannot attain the proper exposure with aperture adjustment only, then elevate the ISO until you've succeeded in attaining a proper exposure. You may want to fiddle with both ISO and aperture which will allow some leeway from shooting wide open.

    Some experimentation will be required until you figure it all out.




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  7. Wasabi Bob

    Wasabi Bob Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Consider this..

    Photographing kids (especially moving) presents some additional challenges. If you shoot in available light, a slower shutter speed can often confuse motion blur with poor focus. I've found that face recognition can often reinforce proper facial focus.

    Psychologically, when the face is sharp most people are happy with the shot. I once refereed to this as unintentional bokeh.
  8. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 24, 2011
    Viera, Florida USA
    Real Name:
    Patience, low expectations of getting that great shot, and not getting in the way of the kids having fun.

    All else will follow with trial and error. We have the luxury now of not having to develop, or pay to have developed, our learning process... go shoot.

    Something taught to me in my first photo class a very long time ago: "If you get ONE good printable photo per roll of 36, you're an amazing photographer and don't need to be in this class."
  9. SRHEdD

    SRHEdD Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 24, 2011
    Viera, Florida USA
    Real Name:
    oh... and bouncing a flash off the ceiling (or wall) often solves a lot of problems. Natural looking light, reasonable shutter speed, high ISO not usually necessary.