Shravan Gupta Tips for Photographing Children’s Parties

We know that photographing your children while trying to run the party, prevent accidents and maintain your sanity is a difficult thing.
That is why we have scoured the internet to bring you our Top 10 Tips to help you out!
Here are our secrets to successfully capture your child’s party memories so that they -and you- can relive the moments afterwards!

 

Planning the Shoot

1. Prepare and set the scene for your key moments

Make a list of moments you want to capture; the blowing of the candles, opening of presents, party games, etc. Where do you want these to occur? How do you want these areas to look? Where will guests be sitting, and where will you be taking photos? Considering these questions early on can help you plan and best achieve the shots you desire.

2. Capture the party details

Taking photos of the party details will help tell the story and set the context, not to mention capture evidence of all your hard preparation work! You may like to shoot close-ups of the decorations, the food, the cake, the presents, even the invitations and cards. A good tip is to photograph these before the guests (and the commotion) arrive, it will never look quite the same!

3. Include various angles and types of shots

Create a mix of wide angle overall shots contrasted with close-up shots which fill the frame, to really capture the action and invite viewers to feel a part of the experience. Try standing on a (stable and safe) chair for an alternative view. Make use of the panorama feature on your camera if you have one, or try advanced lens effects like the fish-eye or tilt-shift if you feel adventurous. By the way, angling your camera is not a sin – be creative!

 

Working with Children

4. Take time to allow children to feel comfortable around you

It is not easy to be natural when there is a big camera lens in your face… children might be scared, shy or distracted. Take some time to show kids what you are doing, let them look through the lens/screen and show them photos you’ve already taken. Ask some questions, tell some stories, play some games and you’ll be buddies in no time!

5. Get down to their level for a ‘Kids-Eye perspective’

To make yourself even less scary, crouch down to their level – a very simple but often forgotten move! Taking photos from this level provides a ‘kids-eye perspective’ of the party, making them appear natural and comfortable in the photos.

6. Capture real smiles and genuine emotions

Posing while saying ‘cheese’ does not lead to natural smiles or good photos. Try engaging with kids by making them laugh with funny faces, silly noises (‘blowing raspberries’ is a winner!), and playing games like touching your nose with your tongue or crossing your eyes. You can take photos of both the funny faces and the real laughter that follows!

 

Technical Tips

7. Find the light

Especially important if you are using a phone camera is to ensure there is plenty of light, preferably from natural sources. Position the group near a window or place lamps around the activity area to enable clear crisp photos. Use flash as a last resort, as it can ‘wash out’ colour.

8. Still and steady focus

With so much activity around you, it is tricky to keep a steady hand to take crisp photos. Use a small tripod or create a makeshift one out of a nearby prop, and make sure the stabilizer mode is switched on if your camera has one. Select the focal point to keep your desired subject sharp whether it is in the foreground or the background, allowing you to play with the composition with ease.

9. Use continuous shooting mode or ‘burst’ mode

If your camera has this feature available, use it to photograph a sequence like blowing out the candles or unwrapping a present. Again, this helps to tell the story, and you have more chances of capturing that perfect moment.

 

What’s the 10th tip you ask? Well isn’t it obvious? 🙂

10. Create a PastBook album with your photos!

Congratulations, you have survived your kid’s party, you remembered all our tips and now you have a magnificent collection of party photos. You may have already uploaded to Instagram or Facebook as you were shooting to share with your friends, and gotten heaps of likes and comments. Now it’s time to log in to PastBook, select a timeframe or album, and in a few clicks your album is ready for download, sharing and printing.

So easy, it’s……. child’s play!

Shravan Gupta Aspiring Street Photography

1. Ditch the zoom and use a wide-angle prime

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Street photography is not like your 2nd grade science class. You don’t examine your subjects under a microscope. Rather, street photography is about experiencing life, up close and personal. When starting off street photography, you may be tempted to use your 70-200 zoom lens to feel less “awkward” from shooting in the streets. Rather, it will do much more harm than good.

First of all, you will look even more conspicuous in public holding a huge zoom lens. Secondly, if you use a zoom lens you have to point it directly at somebody, which makes the person you are trying to capture feel as if they have a gun pointed to their head. Rather, try using a wide-angle prime lens. This will solve two of the forementioned problems. One, prime wide-angle lenses are often quite small and look much less threatening than the typical telephoto lens. Furthermore, by using a wide-angle lens, you can still capture your subjects without necessarily pointing your camera directly at them. Which brings me on to my next point…

2. Get close

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When I say close, I mean GET CLOSE. Get so close so that when you are taking photos of people on the street that you can see the perspiration dripping from their forehead or the texture of their skin. By using a wide-angle prime lens (as mentioned in the before point), you will be forced to get close to your subjects. The advantage of this is that the wide-angle lens will give you a perspective which makes the viewer of your images feel as if they are a part of the scene, rather than just a voyeur looking in. Not only that, but when you are taking photos really close to people, they often think that you are taking a photo of something behind them. I recommend using either a 24, 28, or 35mm on a full-frame or crop camera.

3. Always carry your camera with you

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You have heard this a million times and you know that you should, but you always seem to find excuses or reasons NOT to always carry your camera with yourself. “It’s too heavy, it’s annoying, it’s a hassle, it’s frustrating.” I’ll tell you what’s frustrating. Missing the perfect photo opportunity (the decisive moment) and regretting it for the rest of your life. I have to admit that is a bit dramatic, but it is true. If you always carry your camera with you, you will never miss those “Kodak moments” which always seem to happen at the most unexpected times. I have taken some of my best images at the most unexpected moments—images that would have been impossible to take if I did not have my camera by my side.

4. Disregard what other people think of you

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One of the things that people are worried about when starting street photography is worrying about being judged by other people as being a “creeper” or just being plain weird. Disregard these thoughts. When you are shooting on the streets, you will most likely be alone. That means that anyone who may be “judging” you is people that you do not know and will most likely never see again in your life. So why let them get in your way?

We may feel constricted by these “social rules” but remember, they can always be broken. There is no law out there which doesn’t allow photography in public places (regardless of what the police may tell you).

To prime yourself better for your street photographer “role,” try doing something unusual in public. Lay on the ground for a minute and see how other people react around you, get up, and simply walk away like nothing happened. Go to a busy intersection and stand like a statue and see how people react (trust me, nobody notices. I had to do this as an experiment for one of my sociology classes). When you go into an elevator, stand the opposite way. The social world is full of false rules that constrict us. Break them, and shooting in the streets should become quite natural.

5. Smile often:

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It is funny how far a smile can go, especially when shooting in the streets. If you take a photo of somebody and they give you a weird look, simply tip your hat to them and show them two rows of your pearly white chompers. I would say that when smiling to strangers (even in the city of angels) I get over a 95% response rate. Even some of the most unapproachable people will smile back at you. By smiling often and to others, this will help you relax and lighten the atmosphere around yourself. People trust a street photographer who smiles, as they will simply disregard you as a hobbyist, rather than someone with malicious intent.

6. Ask for permission

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Although many street photography purists say that the only true street photography is candid, I would highly disagree with them. Feel free to go up to strangers who you think look interesting, and ask to take a portrait of them. People love getting their photos taken, and as long as you act courteous and casual about it, most people will accept. Feel free to ask to take portraits of many mundane subjects of everyday life like the waitress at the diner, the bellboy of a hotel, or even a parking lot attendant.

7. Be respectful:

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This is one of the tricky grey lines when it comes to street photography. I personally try my best not to take photos of homeless people when they look too down on their luck. Although I do agree that there are tasteful images taken of homeless people which call people into helping these people, there are also many images that look like pure exploitation. Think of the cliché shot of a homeless person crouched over on the street, begging for money. Before you take these images, think about what message you are trying to convey. Are you shooting for the reason of building awareness of the atrocious situations that many homeless people live in? Or are you merely taking a photo of a homeless person for the sake of taking their photo? Nobody can be the judge—only you can decide.

8. Look for juxtaposition:

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I feel that this is what makes street photography so unique and fascinating when compared to other genres of photography. Street photographs are able to convey the humor, irony, and the beauty of everyday life, by juxtaposing people with others and the environment. Look for signs with interesting messages that seem to be contradictory to the people standing around it. Be on the lookout for human heads that seem to be displaced by street lamps. Look for two individuals that seem to be differing in height, complexion, or even weight. Capture an array of emotions from people, whether it be happiness, sadness, or curiosity.

9. Tell a story:

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Imagine that you are a film director and that you are trying to make an interesting play. Who would you decide to play as your actors? What is your backdrop going to be. How are the actors going to be interacting with one another and the environment? What kind of emotion are you trying to convey—whimsical, curious, or gloomy? If a viewer looks at one of your photos, will they simply move on or will they take a minute or two and study your image, trying to figure out the intrinsic story? Does your image captivate the viewer and make them feel that they are a part of the scene? Ask yourself these questions the next time you are taking photos on the street.

10. Just do it:

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This is the last but most quintessential point of all of becoming a street photographer. Reading all of these tips aren’t going to do you any good to become a street photographer. Photography is not done behind the computer screen, but on the streets with a camera in hand. Honestly when it comes down to it, all this obsession over cameras, lenses, and gear doesn’t matter. Grab your DSLR, point-and-shoot, iPhone, or whatever and hit the streets. The beauty of the world awaits you—don’t miss your chance.

Shravan Gupta View and Camera Angle

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In two previous articles we’ve looked at 6 Portrait Lighting Patterns Every Photographer Should Know, as well as Lighting Ratios to Make or Break Your Portrait. In this third and final part of the series, we are going to examine facial views and camera angle and how to select and use both to your advantage and to flatter your subjects. Let’s start by defining these terms.

Definitions or descriptions

Simply put, facial view is what portion or angle of the face that is showing towards the camera. How is the subject’s face turned or angled relative to the lens, and your position at camera.

Your camera angle is where you place your camera, in relation to the subject in so far as the height, distance, and angle to the subject’s face.

Sounds pretty straight forward right? It is, however, small differences in either of the above can produce undesirable results. We’ll dig a big deeper into that in a bit, stay with me!

Facial Views

First let’s look at the 4 mains Facial Views used in portraiture. They are:

Full face is where your subject’s nose is pointing directly towards the lens. You see equal amounts of both sides of their face.

Full face view

3/4 view is where your subject turns their face just slightly in one direction until you cannot see the far ear any more.

3quarter face view

2/3 view is there the subject has continued to turn their head until the line of the nose is almost touching the outline of their cheek on the far side. Be careful not to turn them past that point so the nose breaks the line of the cheek. It’s not a rule, but it is not nearly as flattering that way.

*Note:  notice her earrings in the image above, and how it is not showing below her jawline in the one below.  When she turned her face just a little more, the earring looked like it was coming out of her face so I had her remove it for this image.  Watch for things like this as the facial angle changes.

2thirds face view

Profile is where the subject’s face is turned almost exactly 90 degrees from front, basically their nose is pointing sideways. You should only be able to see one side of their face and not the eye on the far side, in a true profile.

*Note:  once again watch for things like earrings and hair hanging down under the chin, which can look a bit odd. I usually brush hair back and have them remove an earring if it doesn’t look right and looks like it’s dangling under the chin or neck.

Profile view

Camera Angle

Where you place your camera makes a huge difference in how your subject appears in the final image. Keep in mind these are not hard and fast rules. Use them as guidelines and starting points, then use your judgment as each person is unique. Portray that how they wish to be portrayed. When you learn these tips and see how they work in practice it becomes easier and easier to know how to approach each portrait.

  • A high camera angle (above their eye level) will emphasize the face more than the body. This is good for a heavier set person, to help them appear slimmer if that’s desired (HINT: most women will NOT get upset if you make them look slimmer!!)
  • A low camera angle (below their eye or even chin level) can make a person look taller, or seem as if they are more powerful. But, this is not very flattering for most people. You end up looking up their nostrils, and the body appears larger than the head and face, which is generally not desired by most people.
  • For group portraits of multiple people, camera position is generally about eye level, or slightly lower. This cuts down on distortion of the body parts, making them look oddly proportioned.
  • For a portrait of one or two people, having the camera at eye level or slightly higher is the most flattering, for most people.

Lenses

As well as camera height or angle, which lens you select will also change the look of your portrait drastically.  Think about what we know about different lenses . . .

  • wide angle lenses:  emphasize perspective, distorts things, makes them seem more three dimensional
  • telephoto or long lenses:  compress things, isolate subjects, make them look less 3D

That’s all I’m going to tell you about this, I want to find out what I’m talking about by trying it out.  Look at my examples below, then find yourself a person to photograph and use different lenses and see how it changes the image.

 

Tell me what you notice about the examples here.  What do you notice changing in each?

 

How long does it take to master this stuff?

One of the most comment questions I get asked by my students is “how long did it take you to learn all this stuff?” – the answer is two fold: 4 weeks, and 25 years! I say that with tongue in cheek but it’s true. I “learned” all the concepts and guidelines relatively quickly because I was in a two year photography program so I was completely immersed in it. It’s like learning a new language, if you move to that new country and you have to speak it all the time, you will learn a lot faster than only speaking it once a month. The same is true of photography. So the best advice I can give you on how to learn faster, is to get out and photograph more often.

The second part of my answer, the 25 years bit, means that I’m still learning. I’ve learned things from my students and other photographers and do so continually. Don’t ever expect to suddenly “get” it and you can then stop learning. It’s a process, and it’s ongoing. As soon as you think you’ve learned it all, or you know it all then it’s time to quit because you’ve probably lost the passion. At least that’s my opinion.

Call to action – practice at home ongoing

This is not an assignment but rather a suggestion to just start noticing the facial view and how to adjust your subject. If you sit a person by a light source such as a window, you can see that just by them turning their head towards the light, it will also change the lighting pattern that falls on their face. See how this information can then be used to your advantage once you know the basics.

Different facial views will be flattering for different people. Experiment and see what works best for each person you photograph. Have the person sit and just turn their face and see how the shape of their face changes and how the light falls on them differently.

While you’ve got your subject for the last exercise see if you can slip this in too. Take 5 images of your subject from different camera levels. Don’t change your lens focal length, or distance to them – just camera height:

Shravan Gupta Top Photography Colleges in India

If you have visual imagination and a creative eye, your prospects of becoming a successful photographer are bright. As a photographer, you can find employment in a variety of sectors, including Press Photography, Photo Journalism, Fashion Photography, Wildlife Photography, Forensic Photography, Scientific Photography, Industrial Photography etc. You get a chance to do your favorite job, and get highly paid for it as well. If you are looking to pursue an academic course in Photography, here is a list of top 10 photography colleges in India:

  1. Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi: This institution offers 1 year PG Diploma in Still Photography and Visual Communication. There are 20 seats available for the course, and you should be at least a graduate to gain admission. Admissions are made on the basis of an Entrance test, Personal Interview, Group Discussion and an Internal Entrance Test.
  2. Osmania University, Hyderabad: The University offers a 3 year Bachelor’s degree course in Fine Arts (Photography). You should have passed your 10+2 exam before applying for the course. Admissions are made on the basis of an Entrance test, personal interview, group discussion and an internal entrance test.
  3. Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gorakhpur University, Gorakhpur, UP: The university offers a regular Diploma course in Film & Television photography. You can apply for the course after completing your 10+2. Admissions are made on the basis of your marks in the 10+2 exam, or any equivalent qualifying exam.
  4. Asian Academy of Film and Television, Noida: The institute offers a 3 months regular certificate course in Still Photography and Journalism. Any student who has passed his 10+2 exam can apply for the course. Admissions are made on the basis of your marks in the 10+2 or any equivalent qualifying exam.
  5. A.J. Kidwai Mass Communication Research Center, Delhi: This is a private college affiliated to the JamiaMilliaIslamiaUniversity. It offers a 1 year PG Diploma course in Still Photography. You should be a graduate with minimum required percentage of marks. Admissions are made on the basis of an entrance test, personal interview, group discussion and an internal entrance test. There are 20 seats in total allotted for the program. The complete course costs around Rs. 74600.
  6. Netaji Subhash Open University, Kolkata: It is a Private Deemed University offering 2 year Regular Diploma course in Basic Photography, Advanced Photography. You should have passed 10+2 exam before applying for the exam. Admissions are made on the basis of your marks in the 10+2 or any equivalent qualifying exam.
  7. Tolani College of Arts & Science, Adipur, Gujarat: It is a private college affiliated to the Gujarat university. It offers a 1 year regular Diploma course in Photography and Videography. The college also offers a 1 year Regular Certificate course in Photography and Videography. Eligibility for diploma course is 10th class, and for certificate course is 10+2. Admissions are made on the basis of your marks in the qualifying exam.
  8. The Indian Institute of Digital Art and Animation, Kolkata: Affiliated to the GulbargaUniversity, the institute offers a 3-year B.Sc. program in Photography and Cinematography. The institute also offers a 2-year M.Sc. program in Photography and Cinematography. Total seats for both B.Sc. and M.Sc. program are 40 each.
  9. Center for Research in Art of Film & Television (CRAFT), Delhi: The institute offers a 1-year PG Diploma Course in Mass communication, with specialization in Fashion Photography and Videography. You should be a graduate to pursue this course. You need to fill in an online application form, after which you will be called for an interview, on the basis of which you will be enrolled into the course.
  10. New York Film Academy, Greater Noida: Accredited to the National Association of Schools of Arts & Design, US Department of Education, the academy offers 1-year Diploma course in Digital photography. You should have passed 10+2 exam before applying for the course.

Shravan Gupta:Why learn Photography?

A picture is worth a thousand words! Artists want to express their feelings and emotions through their pictures, people love nature and want to capture its beauty. Photography is a medium of creative art and a photograph is a picture created with mechanical, chemical or electronic means.

Marriages may be decided in heaven, but they actually take place on the Earth and wedding photos are the most valuable possessions of people.

Parents love their children and their photos too. Schools and colleges want team photos. Corporate establishments always need photos for brochures, advertisements, catalogues, annual reports and press releases.

Newspapers and news magazines need news events covered with supporting photos. Stock agencies always want pictures; you may sell your work for calendars or greeting cards. There are many advertising agencies who want photos to create ads for their clients. The number of new magazines continues to grow. And all of them need photos.

Models want their portfolios done, companies want to promote their products and services, people want their family functions covered, and there is no end to the list.

Shravan Gupta "I love to comment on photography, design & ideas"