Kids always make great photo subjects, and of course every parent loves to shoot their own kids to capture their childhood on images. However, shooting kids is not always easy because they seldom seem to sit in one spot and pose like models! But when they are in the playground perched on a see-saw or on a merry go round…you can pretty much predict their movements! Here’s a great idea to take photographs of kids when they are on a merry go round – get on the merry go round with them!

We’re serious! What this does is, it gives you access to close up photographs of course…and also opens up a world of creative possibilities. This is one of those situations where a slow shutter speed and a steady hand can help you walk away with images fit for a professional’s portfolio. Let’s break down the attached image into how and what makes it successful…

As you must already know, a slow shutter speed helps depict a feeling of motion or movement with a moving object. Taking this thought process a little further, what if the subject were NOT moving but the background was? Would it not have a similar motion blurring effect as well?

That is exactly what you see in this image. It would be similar to shooting a person standing near the door of a moving train from within the train; with the background in relative motion, while the photographer and the subject are relatively still since they are both moving in tandem.

So, when you get on a merry go round with a child you are practically eliminating the relative movement between your camera and your child, and you need to little other than shoot on shutter speed priority of something like 1/25 sec to get some pretty amazing looking images.

Do remember to photograph kids from THEIR eye level and not your own. This usually means that you would have to go on your knees to reach their eye level. It creates so much more of a connection between the child and the camera. This works well when you are shooting pets as well – people usually overlook this ‘point of view’ factor and end up with images of their kids and pets from their own eye level, with the camera pointing down at the subject – not good!

Here’s another idea to photograph kids in the playground. You could also use a see-saw setting and thereby, again predict the movement. This is a little more difficult photographing a child on a merry go round; you will need to move your camera in tandem with the see-saw, on a slow shutter speed! When you do this, you are again minimizing the relative movement between the subject and camera – and when executed properly, you will again get motion blur in the background while the subject appears relatively sharp in the image. You could try this with a child on a swing as well…

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