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Toddler Pictures


I took my granddaughter to the park last night to take some pictures. At almost 2, she was a wild one!

I used the settings for an outdoor child photo shoot on Moose's cheat sheets. I had a ton of blurry shots-And because she was a spit fire, I couldn't focus as fast either. (I never had this issue until she could walk/run)!

I shot manual and used a kit lens.

Should I change my settings to an action shot instead?


  • edited August 2017
    That setup should produce a reasonably fast shutter speed, but check your EXIF information on the shots you missed, to see what the shutter speed actually was, as well as the aperture and ISO. If it's too slow, try upping the ISO. A D3200 will still give a nice image at ISO 400, and acceptable most of the time at 800. Above that it can get a bit grainy for some purposes, but for people it's usually all right, and a sharp shot beats a blurry one anyway.

    Make sure your focus point is centered, as it's very easy accidentally to move it from where you expect and to focus on the wrong area. Use the [OK] button to center it. Dynamic area and 3D focus both start at the chosen focus point, and track from there, and the closer you can stay to the original focus point the better.

    Depending on how she moves and what the environment is, you might also try dynamic area focus or single point instead of 3D. That works pretty well if you can pan to follow a moving subject. 3D works best when the subject is easily distinguished from other things in the scene, as it uses color information.

    You could try the action shot settings too. The shutter speeds there should be quite good enough if you get focus.

    But some of this is going to be just a matter of practice. Learning to follow a fast subject and to anticipate where she'll be can be difficult.

    I would add that since the D3200 has "focus priority AF," if you got shots at all, it thought it had focused on something. Take a good look at your pictures, and see if there is an area of sharp focus anywhere. If you have View NX-2 or some other programs, you can illuminate the focus point the camera used. If there is no sharp spot, then that would suggest you hit the subject but had motion blur. If there is a sharp point and its not the subject, then that suggests you missed your subject in focusing. In AFC the focus priority is slightly relaxed, allowing faster shooting, so it is possible to get a shot before the AF finishes. You can sometimes get a little better result by switching to continuous release, and shooting two or three shots at a time, so that the AF can catch up.
  • Thanks for the info! Could I also just move from Manual mode to Shutter Priority mode? Then up my shutter speed from there?

    I am having a hard time grasping the concept of manual mode and shutter speed. They say to keep the shutter speed at 1/500 to start and move up if necessary. If I go to that, and the toddler moves and I follow- does the shutter speed go down/up when focusing and following the toddler? Do I not use the focus or maybe I have manual focus set somehow on my lens?

    It seems like I should grasp this but I for some reason just can't!
  • @CTOLDO12 Trying to take a picture of a toddlers at a park at night is incredibly tough, even with professional equipment. You're battling low light and a fast moving subject, which will present a whole host of challenges.

    If this was a posed portrait, where the toddler was positioned in a spot and could sit or stand relatively still (aka not running), then you would want to use the Child Portrait scenario for outdoor daytime. Preferably, you would want to schedule the shoot around sunset for the best light.

    For action photos of the toddler running around, you would want to use the "Sports/Action" scenario which does in fact use shutter priority mode and puts emphasis on freezing fast action.

    Feel free to email me (support "at" if you have any other questions regarding the settings or if you'd like to share some examples for me to take a look at. I'm happy to help!
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