How Parents Can Shoot Like a Pro

We got tips (and pictures) from top performance, wedding, and sports shooters to help make sure you’re ready to capture the moments you want to remember

Plan for the Light

If you’re setting up a backyard party like the Princesses and Pirates occasion Amy Grace recently shot, avoid harsh midday light and, if possible, center activities under the open shade of large trees, tents, canopies, or buildings.
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Amy Grace
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Amy Grace
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Amy Grace
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Amy Grace

Capture the Real Stuff

Pro wedding photographer Amy Grace believes that it’s the “in- between moments”—the messy faces, accidents, and interactions—that are the heart of a child’s birthday party. “Parents often aim to get that perfect, smiling shot, with everyone looking at the camera. I would encourage you to pay attention to lovely surprises, too. Think about the way your child is at this moment, and push the shutter when you see that pure character show itself.”

Watch the Schedule

“If your child competes mainly in night games, and there’s one day game on the schedule, make sure you’re there with your best gear,” says Wyatt. “Even if you have to take the day off of work.”

Catch the Action

Setting fast apertures (and investing in lenses that have them) lets you use faster shutter speeds for stopping action and blur backgrounds as Ron Wyatt did here with Sigma’s 120-300mm f/2.8 OS zoom.

Freeze a Ball

To do as Wyatt did here, position yourself at an angle to its probable path and set a fast shutter speed. (Here, 1/1000 sec.)