This is the second post in the Personal Photography 101 and this time I’m writing about a few camera settings which will help you take your photography (particularly baby and kids photography) to the next level!

Other posts in this series: How to Take Better Photos of Your Baby

The most common grouse of parents is that their baby/child is never still! As a result, they end up getting blurry pictures of precious moments.

Blurry photos are largely a result of your subject moving, your hands shaking, and not-so-perfect focus. Mostly, it’s a combination of the three. The easiest to fix with a camera setting is the first. This is also the top reason for blurry photos of young kids.

If you own a DSLR or a camera where you can adjust the shutter speed, the top tip I have for you is to use a higher shutter speed (faster than 1/125 for most purposes, faster than 1/200 for superrr active kids). While choosing to only adjust the shutter speed, use the Shutter Priority Mode (‘Tv’, if you have a Canon camera) on your camera. Set your ISO to ‘Auto’. This lets your camera decide the ISO and Aperture, while you decide the Shutter Speed! If you’re in a darkish place/ indoors without much natural light, set ‘exposure compensation’ to +1 or +2. Experiment a little and see what amount of compensation fixes the light.

When you increase your shutter speed alone, your photos will start looking darker (because the lens is now allowing less light in for a particular photo).

If you have a Canon DSLR, your basic settings screen should somewhat look like this in the Tv Mode:

Shutter Priority Mode


The 1/160 there refers to the shutter speed. It’s calculated in seconds, so 1/160 means the shutter would remain open for 1/160th of a second for each exposure. So if you want to freeze motion, you want to be using faster speeds than 1/125 (eg. 1/160, 1/200, to free water droplets from a faucet, try 1/800, 1/1000). The little black empty box next to that is usually where the Aperture value is displayed. Since this is Shutter Priority Mode, aperture is set by the camera and is not displayed here. Next is ISO, which is set to Auto. The little meter (second row from top) is the Light meter where you can set your exposure compensation (i.e. how much extra light do you want the camera to allow in, or reduce). I’ve set it to +1 here.

If you are feeling a little adventurous and would like to shoot in Manual Mode (the BEST mode to get the most out of your DSLR!), then go ahead! A little experimentation wouldn’t hurt. I’ll be also doing posts on basic concepts and settings in Manual Mode which could help your adventure!

Most importantly, the idea is to have something that you’re comfortable with, so that you are shooting more of those super cute pictures so that you don’t lose the moment. So go out there with your camera and try it!

If you have any questions, I’d be happy to answer them. Just leave a comment.

P.S.: In case you’re wondering, the cover photo was shot in Manual with a 50 mm f/1.8 lens – ISO 640, f/2.0, 1/800 sec