Nikon Americas USA

121ArticlesRemaining

4.4 Rating
Summer Lyn: Photographing Babies, Toddlers & Kids

Careful planning or just being lucky—both can work in your favor.

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.6 Rating
Halloween & Autumn Harvest Photography

Take better photos during the colorful fall season

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
0.0 Rating

Be the first to rate

For Memorable Family Vacation Photos, Focus First on Family

Tamara Lackey on taking great photos during family vacations

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.5 Rating
A Pro's Tips for the Best Children's Photos

Tamara Lackey on taking great pictures of kids

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.2 Rating
Capturing the Essence of an Athlete in Photographs

Although many photographers look for the perfect moment, what Dave…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.0 Rating
Through the Eyes of a Child

Simple tips for children to learn to take better photos

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.4 Rating
Taking Better Photos of Your Kids at Play

Taking photos of your kids while at play make great images; next time you’re…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.1 Rating
Assignment: Road Trip

Bob Krist pursues persons of interest

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
How a Sports Illustrated Photographer Shoots his Kid's Games

What can a Sports Illustrated photographer teach you about…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.2 Rating
Top Photography Tips from Nikon School Instructors

Learn photography the easy way, at Nikon School

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.0 Rating
Action Photography: Shooting in Extreme Locations

Photographer Beth Wald doesn't just shoot from the sidelines; she's in…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.0 Rating
Photograph Family and Friends During the Holidays

The holidays are prime picture-taking time. Get some great tips on…

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.5 Rating
Flash Photography on Location

Ami Vitale on using a single Speedlight for illumination

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
Zoo and Wildlife Photography

Spend a day at the zoo with wildlife photographer Julie Larsen Maher

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.6 Rating
FOCUS First: A System for Better Photos

Mark Alberhasky's 5 step system for taking better pictures

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.7 Rating
You’re the Guest: How to Capture Unique Photos at a Wedding

Abby Liga discusses getting great photos when you're a…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.2 Rating
When You Explore All Angles, Better Pictures Happen

Tom Bol explains how changing perspective can make a better image.

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.1 Rating
Taking Better Photographs of the American West

When you get a chance to visit the open prairies, and photograph ranchers…

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
Benefits of Using the AF-ON Button for Autofocus

Three pros discuss using the AF-ON button for AF control

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.2 Rating
Making Great COOLPIX Videos of Your Kid's Sports

Tips & Tricks from photographer Ann Cutting

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.6 Rating
Ski Photography 101

Tips and tricks for getting great photos of skiers and snowboarders

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
How to Photograph Lightning

Storm chaser Jim Reed offers valuable tips for making photos of lighning while staying safe.

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.0 Rating
Picture Controls Step-by-Step

Utilize Picture Controls in-camera or during post-processing to change the look of your…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.7 Rating
High Speed Sync: A Flash Technique To Add a Pro Touch to Your Photographs

Kevin Kubota on auto FP high speed sync flash…

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.9 Rating
The Importance of Quality Audio Capture

Simple tips for photographers shooting HD video with Nikon D-SLRs.

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.1 Rating
Tips for Photographing Birds

Birds make great subjects for photographs; tips for capturing them with your camera.

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.2 Rating
Photographing Sports Indoors and Out

Capturing the action of a sporting event is easy when you follow a few simple…

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
Taking Better Photographs on the Water

Harbors, bays, oceans and rivers all have one thing in common—interesting and…

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
Andrew Hancock

Sports photographer Andrew Hancock is a Nikon Ambassador. Learn more about his photography.

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
How to Read Your Camera Manual

Your camera manual, it's not a novel, so don't try reading it cover to cover.

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.8 Rating
One Shot: No Exit

Bill Durrence on ow a simple change can alter a photo’s feeling

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.8 Rating
Family Photos—Capturing the Moments

Nikon School's Family Photos—Capturing the Moments is full of tips for taking fun…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.6 Rating
Cliff Mautner: King of Hearts

Cliff Mautner's unique style has made him a successful and in-demand wedding photographer.

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.3 Rating
Preserve and Protect: Got a Backup Plan for Your Photos?

Don't lose those precious photos. Make sure you've got a backup…

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.0 Rating
Capture NX 2: Lesson 10

Discover the time-saver of batch processing a group of your images.

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.0 Rating
Capture NX 2: Lesson 4

Discover how to quickly sharpen the eyes of a portrait subject.

NEW
Read
Viewing
5.0 Rating
First Look: The All-Seeing, 360° Nikon Action Cam

Corey Rich describes his experience shooting with the KeyMission 360

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.9 Rating
Think About Your Subject Before You Begin Shooting

Find out why thinking about your photos can be as important as taking…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.1 Rating
Online Exclusive: Time Lapse Photography Adds Interest to your D-Movies

Speed up time with interval shooting.

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.8 Rating
A Snapshot of Digital Photography in the US

A look at digital photography statistics in the US

NEW
Read
Viewing
5.0 Rating
Searching for Perspective in Photography

Ami Vitale discusses perspective in photography

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
5.0 Rating
The Importance of Pro Bono Work

Sandro speaks to the importance of doing pro bono work

NEW
Read
Viewing
0.0 Rating

Be the first to rate

Miles of Aisles

Kevin Kubota establishes his clients' comfort level before the wedding, so that on the big day they will…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.4 Rating
How to Read Your NIKKOR Lens Barrel

Understanding what all of those markings and designations on your lens really mean.

NEW
Read
Viewing
3.8 Rating
Creatively Photographing Objects Up Close

The idea that less is more can be applied to the subject matter in your photos.

Beginner

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.3 Rating
Boudoir Photography: Creating the Sensual Image

Trendy boudoir photography by CherieFoto.

Advanced

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.5 Rating
Moose Peterson: How to Photograph Winter Landscapes

Exposing so the Snow’s White and Six Other Tips for Great Winter…

NEW
Read
Viewing
4.8 Rating
Lessons from a Travel Photographer

Attention to details has helped make Rosanne Pennella the successful travel…

NEW
Read
Viewing

Summer Lyn: Photographing Babies, Toddlers & Kids

As a professional photographer who specializes in kids, Summer Lyn has an arsenal of tested, proven, no-doubt-about-it successful techniques, strategies, plans and approaches for getting the best images of her clients' children.

But when it comes to photographing her own kids...pretty much none of it will work.

"My kids see me every day, so nothing I do or say is new or interesting to them," Summer says. And make no mistake—being interesting is the first and most important key to getting great pictures.

Fortunately, Summer says it's the easiest part of her job because it just comes naturally. "Babies, toddlers, older kids—they can see through you if you're not really interested in them. When people ask me, 'How do you do it?' I always tell them, 'Just get to know the kids. Kids are fun, they're intriguing. If you get to know them, you're going to capture them."

"I always approach with the camera," Summer says. "I'll have it in my hands or around my neck when I get out of the car at their house. So it's never that I'm around the children, getting to know them and then I suddenly pull out this big, black box and put it in front of my face. I have the camera in sight always, so they know its part of me."

The very fact that there's a camera in sight can make her interesting to the child. "Part of it is having them want to know about me: 'What's this girl all about? What is she doing?' "

Even though the camera is in plain sight, she will give the kids some time to get to know her before she starts taking pictures. "I give them that space, that warm-up time to build some trust. Trust has to come first."

Then there's timing. "I need to work around the child's schedule, need to know when the child naps. If she naps at 1:00 and gets up at 2:30, then she can have a quick lunch and she's ready. She's not tired, she's well fed—that's the basic. The times [for the shoot] are always set up around well-rested, well-fed babies...or else you're going to get some tantrums."

And there's location. Working in the families' homes is a big plus. "It's a comfort thing for the kids—you want them to show you their house so they're comfortable with you being there."

For toddlers there's also the squeaky toy gambit. "The only thing I use as an attention-getter with a child who's not interested in me is this little ball that squeaks. I'll put it in my mouth and squeak it while I'm holding the camera."

But her own kids? They're well beyond squeaky toys and being surprised by their mom. "My kids see me with the camera all the time, they know me, and they generally won't look at me for anything."

Still, Summer says, strategies can be adapted and family knowledge can be put to work. Your kids may not be surprised by you, but you know the area of the house your children prefer; you know what they like to do; you know their schedules. Sometimes you just stumble on something—as Summer did for the second photo here. "That's my daughter, doing her own thing, [playing] with the magnets on the fridge. I might have said something to get her to look at me and smile. The most important part about photographing your own kids is to capture the moment they're involved in. It's those natural moments you have to look for."

And when that moment arrives, you've got to be ready.

Well, actually, you should be ready before the moment arrives, almost pressing the shutter release a millisecond before the moment. "That comes with experience," Summer says, "with knowing the kind of image you want to get and what the child does."

Although there are exceptions, for the most part you should be shooting from the child's level. "You can't overpower a child," Summer says. "She doesn't want to look up; she wants you to be on her level, where she's going to trust you and look at you."

The lens you're looking through can make a big difference. Summer prefers prime lenses—that is, single focal length lenses—with the AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.4G a particular favorite.

Primes are generally lighter and smaller than zooms, but she likes them for their large maximum apertures that allow in more light. Since she often photographs in the client's house, lighting can be a problem. "I try to use natural light whenever I can," she says, "even if it's coming in through just one window. I'm going to bring the child over to that window and start working it."

She also likes to shoot wide open (the lens at its maximum aperture), or close to it, to get sharp focus on her subject and a pleasantly blurred, non-distracting background—as in the photograph of her daughter playing with the magnets.

Primes also allow her to shoot at faster shutter speeds. "I don't often have a lot of time—the baby is yawning, that's a second. I need to be able to capture a yawn or a smile or something that's going to happen fast. Photographing babies and toddlers you can miss those moments in a second, so if you don't have a fast lens it's not going to happen."

The final benefit of primes: "They physically make you move for a different composition, which can make a picture. Primes make you think; they make you evaluate your scene before composing."

No matter the lens, her literal point of focus is consistent. "It's always the eyes. I want them—or at least one of them—sharp. I want your eyes to go to the subject's eyes first; then I want your eyes to move around the image."

And where the focus goes, the metering follows. Summer almost always uses spot metering and takes the reading from the point of focus, which, of course, is most often the eyes of her subject.

A quick look at Summer's photos reveals her liking for black and white. It's not often planned; rather, it's almost always a decision made at the computer. She'll study a color image and make the decision to convert it to black and white based on her feeling about how strong and effective the photograph will be as a black and white. "I find the most effective black-and-white images come when there's emotion behind it...there has to be an emotional reaction in order for a black-and-white image to work. Sometimes I'm taking away the distraction of the color, and discovering the better emotion of the photo." Other than the conversion, she does minimal post-processing. "I work very hard to get the exposure right in the camera. If the lighting is right, you don't have to do much afterward."

PRO TIPS:

Take Better Photos Of Babies, Toddlers & Kids:

  • Photograph babies after they've had a nap, and are well fed, otherwise you might get a tantrum.

  • Kids are fun and intriguing. If you get to know them, you're going to capture them.

  • Know the area of the house they're comfortable in, and/or the things they like to do.

  • Get down on their level, they'll trust you more.

Welcome to the NEW
Nikon Learn & Explore

We've redesigned the site to make it easier to find
stories you care about, get tips and advice from pros,
learn new shooting techniques, discover classes and
workshops—in short, help you find new inspiration
every time you visit. (And we hope you visit often.)

Get the Learn & Explore iPhone App

Access all the photography techniques, advice and inspiration of Nikon's Learn & Explore anytime, anywhere with the free app for iPhone®, iPod touch® and iPad®.
photo of two iPhones with the Nikon L&E app on the screens

Take Today's Poll

Along with the new look of Learn & Explore, we've added polls. Make your opinion count and check back often to participate in new polls.

Attend Nikon School

Take your photographic knowledge to the next level; get a working understanding of your camera's features; learn how to create DSLR videos; discover how to edit your images using Capture NX2 software and more.