How to Capture Birthday Portraits - dummies

By Robert Correll

Digital SLRs make great birthday party cameras. The photo shown was taken on a son’s birthday. He had just opened the skateboard he wanted and was beaming with joy.

Interior shots with inexpensive lenses (even when mounted on a mid-range Canon APS-C dSLR like this) tend to be frustrating because there isn’t a lot of light inside. Inexpensive lenses don’t normally have large maximum apertures, especially when zoomed in. If you don’t like using a flash in these situations, you’re under even more pressure to get a good exposure.

In these cases, keep two things in mind: Shutter speed is important, and shooting with a moderately high ISO may be necessary. If necessary, switch to shutter-priority mode. This shot was taken using aperture-priority mode at 46mm, f/5.6, 1/80 second, and ISO 1600.

Keys to this photo:

  • Use image stabilization to keep the camera steady.
  • Don’t let the shutter speed drop past 1/60 second.
  • Expect high ISOs.
  • Open windows and turn on lights.
Open windows to let light in and expect ISO to rise.