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Playing in the leaves

edited October 2014 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum
Hi! I would like to take pictures of my kids playing in the leaves. What would be the best setting and mode to accomplish this? Thank you!


  • edited October 2014
    This is a difficult question to answer because of various unknowns: lighting situation, how fast your kids move, what YOU want to capture, etc.

    You may want to check out the “Where to start” chart here:

    I have kids too, so I’m used to photographing them when they're playing. Here’s how I would set the camera for playtime shots.

    Mode dial to Aperture priority
    Turn Auto-ISO on with minimum shutter speed at 1/200 (Set it faster if your kids move fast, set it slower if your kids move not as fast)
    Max ISO at 3200 (or 6400, depending on if you can accept the noise level)
    AF mode at AF-C
    AF area at Dynamic area
    Release mode set to Continuous
    Metering mode set to Matrix
    (I often find that setting Exposure compensation to +0.3 or +0.7 often gives better results on the D5100. But this depends on ambient lighting and personal preference.)

    Shot technique:
    Rotate the rear control dial to adjust aperture. Stop it down to get more of the background in focus, open it up to get less.
    For each shot, try to nail your focus on your kid’s eye. Move the active AF point if necessary or just keep it on the center and frame accordingly. You can always crop for better composition later on.
    Hold the shutter button for bursts of 3 shots each time. You’ll greatly increase your chance of keepers this way. Don’t hold it for too long, otherwise you’ll just end up with tons of identical shots.
    When photographing kids, get down to their level. Don’t just shoot down at them.
    Don’t forget to get a couple of shots where you fill the frame with their face. I find that these often end up being the best shots. They’re candid and convey genuine emotion.
  • edited October 2014
    The above should get you there pretty nicely.

    If it's not open sun, the auto white balance of a D3200 tends to be a bit bluish and cool. Leaves may be a bit drab, and stones and tree trunks will look a bit harsh. If you choose "cloudy" setting, it warms colors up a good deal. "Shade" may go too far and look yellower than you like, but try various settings to see what you prefer. If you shoot RAW, you can change them in View NX2 easily, along with other adjustments without losing the ability to revert to your original settings.
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