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Shutter speed challenges

Hi again. Here are three challenges for you to try out with your camera, including a few ideas for how you could capture images of the children when they are moving around quickly.

In this video I talk about the "hyperfocal distance", and I'll leave you to read around on that if you'd like to. Personally I don't worry too much about it as a term, because it's often for the kind of photographer who is interested in getting images that are as close to perfect as possible. I'm more scrappy than that, and I'm more interested when we're with the children in getting well-timed photos than ones that are perfectly in focus.

For a simple rule of thumb, if you have your camera set to f22 and you focus roughly at 1/3 of the way into the scene in front of you, say 2.5 metres, then lots of the image will be in focus when you take the photo. If you then put the lens onto "manual focus" mode if you have it, then you won't lose any time waiting for the camera to try to auto-focus on the subject. It will just take the photo.

If you have a display like this on your camera, it helps you work out how much of the image will be in focus depending on your aperture (the f-stop number: 8,16,22).

From top to bottom, the green numbers are the distance in feet from your camera, then the distance in metres, then the "f-stop" number you might choose to use in your photograph.

So if you're focusing at something 0.8 metres away (indicated by the large central bar), and you've set your aperture to f8, then only a short range between about 0.6 metres and 1.2 metres will be in focus. Not very much!

But if you were to select f22, then everything from 0.45 metres all the way to the horizon would end up in focus.

If you don't have one of these, the same rules apply, it's just a bit harder to visualise. Take a few images with different apertures and focus points as an experiment.

Shooting without looking

I find this shortcut is really helpful when you're with kids who are moving around a lot, and you can get frustrated when the camera just won't focus, no matter how hard you press that shutter. This trick gets past that "just take the photo you silly camera!" frustration.

I love using this setting with a wide angle lens, and taking images without looking through the viewfinder. It turns the end of the day into a bit of a treasure hunt – going through the images with the children to find out what photos you've taken when you weren't even looking!

On top of that I've two challenges around using really fast shutter speeds, and really slow ones. Both of which can be used to tell the story of the day. Please let me know if this video isn't clear and I'll add some extra explanation if you're having trouble. See you in the Facebook Group! Stef

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