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Sep 04 2013

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How I Shot My Kids – And Got 400 People To “Like” It.

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I posted a picture to Facebook.com yesterday and it went viral. OK, viral’s a strong word, but it’s the most popular picture I’ve ever posted to FB, and I’ve posted thousands. The most common reaction is “Wow! Awesome picture!” This is followed almost immediately by, “Who took it?” I did. And here’s how: There are bunch of rules to shooting kids – which is probably why I hate shooting kids.  Actually, I usually just hate shooting YOUR kids.  Shooting my kids is the whole reason I bought a DSLR.  We had a lot of fun creating the “masterpiece” shown on FB, which this very minute has 393 Likes and 68 Comments.  This is a record for me.  There were a few things I did to make this happen, and a few circumstances I got lucky with.

Stuff Needed:

  • Cool kids who don’t mind posing for Dad’s silly photo ideas
  • Inspiration
  • A camera with a timer or remote shutter control
  • A tripod or other sturdy place to set your camera
  • Knowledge of how to use your camera

Cool Kids

My babies have been posing for stupid pics with Dad since they were born.  I have a couple hundred pics of Jake when he was an infant with random stuff on his head.  My external hard drive is at the doctor’s, or I’d show you examples of my “My child – the table” series.  At this point, the kids usually just stand where they’re told, act as they’re instructed, and wait until I’m finally pleased with the final image.

Inspiration

I cruise the internet regularly.  I am a fan of a number of sites that show gallery after gallery of random pictures every day.  If there’s a meme out there, I’ve probably seen it.  If there’s a web-based joke … I’ve heard it. I found something like this the other day:

inspiration photo

Inspiration photo from Google Images

My first thought?  I can do that; and I can do it better.

A camera with a timer or remote shutter control

I have two remote shutter controls for my camera.  The batteries are dead in both of them.  So, I had to rely on the timer.  It’s a ten-second timer with audible prompts for when the shutter will open.  More on that later.

A tripod or other sturdy place to set your camera

I couldn’t find my tripod anywhere in the house, so I brought a kitchen stool out to the driveway.  Once there, I realized that the stool wouldn’t be tall enough to meet my needs, so I opened the back of the with the intention of putting the stool in the van.  Guess what I found?  That’s right; my tripod.

Knowledge of how to use your camera

This one I’m pretty good at, but time was tight.  I couldn’t use a really fast shutter speed (commonly used to ‘freeze’ motion) because of how overcast the day was.  I didn’t want to use an ISO higher than 400, for fear of getting a grainy image.  I opted to let the camera do the thinking for me and went with the P setting.  Program mode.  The camera usually pics something a little fancier than Automatic.  Turns out it was a poor choice because Beth and I are a touch out-of-focus.

Ready? First shot:

Shot #1 The footless shot

Shot #1 The footless shot

I got a regular, boring, smiling shot of the kids in the driveway.  But then I remembered they all had new shoes.  Liv’s shoes especially are pretty cool.

Shot #2 Smiling with feet

Shot #2 Smiling with feet

Better already.  Jake’s not looking too enthused, but this isn’t new.  Time for some fun.

Shot #3 Too late

Shot #3 Too late

Remember back along when I said we’d talk about the timer later?  It’s later.  The ten-second timer goes something like this:  8 seconds of beep. beep. beep. beep; then 2 seconds of beepbeepbeepbeepbeep; then “click”  Picture taken.  I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty stressful for those last two seconds.  When beepbeepbeep starts, you jump.  We leapt into the air, landed, heard “click.”  Crap.  Missed it. Take 2:

Shot #4 Still too late

Shot #4 Still too late

Stressful, I tell you.  Again, we missed it.  Beth says, “I’ll go when you say go!”  No pressure.  Let’s try again before the kids are late for school.

Shot #5 Got it!

Shot #5 Got it!

Success!

Oops, I almost forgot.  It’s so easy to steal other people’s work (see Fig 1 above) that you should always watermark your stuff with a little ad.

Finished product

Finished product

Ooh, and while you’re at it, share with all your friends on FB.  Do this on the first day of school, when you know people are watching, and sit back and let the magic happen right in front of your very eyes.   You can even crop, apply a filter, and share on Instagram.

Instagram #backtoschool

Instagram #backtoschool

Questions?  Go ask your mother.  Or, leave me a comment below and I’ll get back to you – promise.

To see this pic in it’s glory on BigCalfGuy’s FB page, head on over.  Like me when you get there.

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About the author

BigCalfGuy

BigCalfGuy

I am a 38 year old, married, father of three amazing children; one of whom has autism. I fancy myself as more Atticus Finch than Holden Caulfield. Dynamite with a laser beam.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.bigcalfguy.com/how-i-shot-my-kids-and-got-400-people-to-like-it/

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