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Shooting an active toddler

edited January 2016 Posted in » Nikon D3200 Forum
I have the cheat sheets for the 50mm lens, and they have been my go to. I have a very active toddler and I try my hardest to keep my focal point on his face or in his eye to keep the subject clear, although for some reason I still get blurry pictures from time to time. I use the cheat cards for child portrait. Should I use a different card, or do I just need to really focus on keeping my focal point on? Is that the whole problem to begin with?


  • edited January 2016
    If your toddler is moving around a lot, you're likely to lose focus from time to time even if you're doing it right. The D3200, though pretty good, is not the best at tracking a moving subject, and it takes a lot of practice.

    A couple of possibilities:

    If you are tracking a subject, try to push the shutter button half way in advance of your shot, so AF has time to adjust, and to begin tracking. Then try to follow your subject.

    Practice panning as much as you can, so that you're moving the camera smoothly as the subject moves. The more you can keep the subject in your focus point, the less work the camera's AFC has to do to track.

    If 3D focusing loses your subject often, try dynamic area. 3D is often better, but because it uses color information and tracks in a different way, sometimes it can jump to the wrong thing, especially if your toddler does not stand out well against his background. Dynamic area is not as smart, but sometimes it's harder to fool.

    Make sure that you keep the center point centered. It's easy to move by accident. On the D3200 the center focus point, which is the only 'cross type' one, is a bit more powerful than the others, so when light is poor or focus difficult, keep to that one. This may vary with the user, but I find I often accidentally hit the control due to the way I hold the camera; the [OK] button centers it again.
  • edited January 2016
    Awesome, thank you for all the tips! I'm going to play around with it today and see how I do! You are the best! Thank you!
  • Hey @jessweisenberger - @bruto offered up some excellent advice. Feel free to send me some examples (support "at" cameratips "dot" com) and I can take a look at the image data to see what might be going on. All the best! :)
  • edited February 2016
    You guys are always so helpful for me! I think I have the shooting (1) toddler down. Now I'm struggling with getting more then one kiddo in the picture not blurry. I get one in focus and the other isn't. or I will end up getting neither of them in focus. Now what do I do?
  • edited February 2016
    Depth of field can be a problem if people are spread out. It can be very difficult to get everyone in focus, but luck can be improved by closing down the lens some, and by using a wider angle.

    Remember that depth of field is greater behind the focal point than in front of it (the rough rule of thumb is about 2/3 to 1/3). So if you consider the furthest face as the "behind" limit and the closest face the "in front" limit, you should try to focus between them but with a little bias toward the front.

    Of course the closer together in depth the people are, the easier it will be. Also, the further away they all are. Of course you don't want them off in the distance, but you can almost never get multiple subjects in focus if one of them is very close.
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