Hey there!! I have this horrible, dirty mom secret. I hate the playground– like for real hate it. I am sure when all of my kids are a little older I won’t hate it so much, but for now, I hate it. Don’t worry, I promise this post really is about how to take better pictures at the playground. I wasn’t misleading you! 😉
I’m sure half of you are gasping and shocked that I bad-mouthed your beloved playground, and the others are nodding in agreement. Calm down. I promise, I am just being a little harsh.
Hate is maybe a bit of a strong word. It’s great for gross motor development, and some outdoor fun, and my kids are absolutely full of giggles while they’re at the playground. Except I have to chase at least 2 kids that aren’t quite old enough to have mastered everything in different directions. The little one is always trying to do what the big ones are doing, and I have a fear of someone being kicked by a high-flying kid on a swing. It’s not quite a walk in the park for me.
That said, while we were in Florida, T begged and pleaded to go to the playground. I’m not even sure why or how she knew there was a nearby playground. It’s not like we had driven passed it, or even driven passed another playground.
She had it in her head though that we needed a trip to the playground, and I decided to suck it up, being the good mom that I am (That was me shamelessly tooting my own horn for taking my kid to the park). It was a nice time for pictures and I realized I have a few tips to share for how to take better pictures at the playground!
I’ve got a sweet little freebie for you at the end of this post! Make sure you download it!!
how to take better pictures at
Use a fast shutter speed or the burst mode
This is a huge key to better pictures at the playground. Let’s face it, kids are moving fast at the playground, and the only way to freeze those moving shapes is with a super fast shutter speed.
My camera typically stays well above 1/250 at the playground. I love these images of my wild things, and in this case, the images just wouldn’t be the same if they were blurry figures.
Shoot early in the morning or late in the evening
I realize those times might not always be ideal, but it really does make a difference. The shadows aren’t as harsh, the kids are as hot. The playground may even be less crowded!
We were so lucky with this playground since it had this really awesome sun shade! So cool, and the playground equipment wasn’t dangerously hot!
Shoot from above
(do I sound like a broken record??)
Shooting from above allows you to focus on your subject and hopefully avoid getting some of the strangers that may be sharing the playground with your wild thing in the pictures.
It will also help you to eliminate cars that may be in your background, or the trash can, etc. I love using this trick when there are things in the background that i would rather not focus on.
Don’t forget the details
If you hang out here at all, you will come to know that i am all about capturing the details of childhood. The playground is a perfect place to capture those details. Your kids aren’t going to want to stop and pose the entire time they’re at the playground.
If your kid is turning his head every time you try to snap a picture (happens to me all the time), why not spend a little time on the details? I have this obsession with dimpled knuckles…
Try a wide shot
It’s fun to be able to see what your kids are accomplishing. Take a wide shot here and there showcasing what new piece of playground equipment your wild thing has mastered, or just plain loves right now!
Shoot through playground equipment
This is one of my favorite techniques to use at the playground, or really anywhere. Take your image through playground equipment to add more interest to your images. It frames your subject and draws them in, and it adds some dimension to your images.
Use leading lines
The playground is full of leading lines (<–if you’re not sure what leading lines are check out that post) which can point the viewer right to your subject. Take advantage of them!
What are your favorite tips for taking better pictures at the playground?? I promised you a bonus!!! Here is a freebie for you!!– 20 ideas for playground photographs
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