Learn how to optimize the Canon XSi/450D for a kids/pets scene
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When taking pictures of your kids and pets, it’s important to remember that they’re not going to stop for you to take the picture. So, there are a couple of things you can do. One thing is turn your mode dial to Sport. Now, a Sport is designed for fast moving targets, with sport, my ISO is set to auto. My white balance is set to auto. Your auto focus is continuous and my drive mode is also continuous. Now, couple of these things are great, others I don’t like very much.
White balance, I don’t like that it’s on Auto because if you’re indoors and your using regular tungsten lighting, then the auto white balance is really not going to produce a very good image. The ISO also I like setting that so I don’t like the auto setting and another thing, the flash cannot be used because we’re in a Sport Mode it just assumes that the subject is faraway, so it’s not going to allow you to use the flash. The one good thing that is used in this mode is the continuous drive which allows us to hold the shutter button down and the camera will continuously keep taking pictures. Or we can set that up ourselves and still have much more control over everything else.
So go ahead and change this back to P for Program depending on the situation if you’re outdoors, in the backyard for example there’s plenty of light stick to 100 ISO, you don’t need any more than that. Any more will create a little bit more green image. If you’re indoors however and there’s no whole lot of light, you may want to increase the ISO to have the camera be a little bit more sensitive to light allowing for a faster shutter speed. A faster speed is key in this picture because again, your subjects are not going to stop for the picture. So you want to be able to stop their action using that fast shutter speed. White balance should be set accordingly for outdoors. Daylight if you’re indoors, press the WB button and move over to tungsten. I’m assuming we’re outdoors, so I’m going to stick to daylight. If it’s a cloudy day, warm up the tones a bit by using cloudy and if you’re in the shade go ahead and use shade, press set.
Next, you want to change the auto focus from one shot to continuous. Again, your subjects are moving so you want to try and have the camera continuously focusing on the target. So press the AF button here and choose AI Servo, press Set. It's going to continuously focus on the moving target. Then, you’ll notice over here our Drive Mode is set to single which means every time I press the Shutter Button, no matter how long I hold that button down it will only take one picture. These two is something that we want to change, press the Drive Mode option button right here and it move over to continuous shooting, press set.
Now, this will allow you to hold the button down and the camera will continuously take pictures. So you continuously focusing and continuously taking pictures. Finally, if you want to eliminate shadows, again, I’m assuming we’re outdoors, there’s a lot of daylight and a lot of shadows are cast on your subject’s face, so you can use the flash. Be careful when you use the flash because by doing so you’re going to slow down the frame rate or the rate at which the camera can take pictures by quite a bit. Remember, we’re using the Continuous Mode. So as long as I hold down the Shutter Button, the camera will keep taking pictures and with the flash up it will take maybe one picture every second as suppose to three or four pictures per second. Now, to pop the flash, just go ahead and press the flash button here. And when you’re using the flash, just go ahead and take the picture as you would any other picture. Press the Shutter Button halfway, you’ll notice that the focusing point in the center will blink red.
Remember, we’re using the center focusing point that were set by using the focus point; select your button right here. And you’re just going to follow your subject with that center focusing point always on the subject. As long as that center focusing point is on your subject, the camera will continuously focus. Once the composition is the way you like it, press the Shutter Button the rest of the way and you can hold it there and the camera will keep taking pictures.
Now, with the flash up, if I press the Shutter Button halfway, you’ll notice that my shutter’s speed is 1/100 of a second. And in this case, that’s probably not fast enough to stop the action. So I’m going to want to increase that, I can do so by increasing the ISO. If I choose a higher ISO, again the ISO is up here by my index finger and go with 400 and then press the Shutter Button again. Now, I have 1/200 of a second and that’s much, much better to capture moving kids and pets.
Now, if I don’t want to increase the ISO and I’m not using the flash, you can just turn the flash off. I’ll change the ISO back to 100. And with the flash off in the Program Mode, I can change these settings while maintaining a balance exposure. It’s very simple. Press the Shutter Button halfway, you can see I’m back to 1/100 of a second. If I let go, these figures will stay here for a second. As long as I move this Dial next to the Shutter Button before those figures disappear then I can change that. So I’ll press the Shutter Button halfway and then change these figures. You can see now I have a larger F number and my Shutter Speed is at 1/250.
Now, I have to be pretty quick because I moved that Dial over and then quickly get back on to the Shutter Button in order to maintain those values. Now, if I press the Shutter Button again, I’m back to where I started. So I can roll the Dial, get back on to the Shutter Button; now it’s press halfway and I can follow my subject with the Center Focusing point centered on my subject. And once the picture is composed the way I like it, I’ll just press the button all the rest of the way to take the picture.
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