PHOTO TIPS: capture the joy of birthdays

Gift-giving shots

Make the gift-giving part of the party more personal—and practical. Take a photo of each child presenting a gift and a photo of the birthday boy or girl opening it. You’ll create a visual record of who gave what, which is a huge help when it’s time to write thank-you notes.

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Capture birthday action without shutter lag

Birthday parties include a lot of action. But with so much movement, it can be difficult to capture the moments, since most digital cameras have a shutter delay. This is called shutter lag, and it causes lots of missed shots. If you press the button halfway down, aim at the subject, the camera is ready. When the action happens, press the rest of the way down to capture the candles going out. You can also try shooting in Action mode, which automatically adjusts the shutter speed to freeze motion. Action mode works best outdoors in bright light.

Tell the story of the party

Take a sequence of photos to help tell the story of the party. Try these tips to capture the whole event. Shoot from a variety of angles: horizontal, vertical, above, below, close up, far away. Take a sequence of photos-candles on the cake, lighting the candles, presenting the cake, and then blowing out the candles. Take still-life shots of the table set for the party, the colourful pile of presents and other details.

Give the camera to the kids

To get shots you’d never think of, hand the digital camera to the kids. They’ll give you a fresh take on the day. Give them some quick pointers on using the camera safely, and let them snap away. The bonus: you’ll see the world through their eyes.

Cake and candle shots

The presentation of the birthday cake is always a party high-point. To capture light from the candles, set your camera to No Flash mode, and if you can, set a longer exposure time-1/4 of a second or more. Use a tripod if you have one to keep the camera steady. Take before and after photos of the cake-and don’t forget action shots as it’s being eaten.

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