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Want to win a family trip to Disneyland Paris? North London Mums wants you to as well.




(c) Disney
We've always wanted to go to Disneyland Paris and now we have children, we have a good excuse. This week we heard about a really great competition being run by P&O ferries called Magical Family, for two families to win an all expenses paid trip and wanted to let you know about it.

We know that there are loads of competitions out there on the web but we think that this is one worth entering as you have a good chance of winning. To enter you have to upload a picture or video of your family enjoying a magical moment and there are two prizes up for grabs - the most popular video and most popular photo. We checked today and only 398 people have entered so far so odds are in your favour.

As we'd really like a North London Mum (or Dad) to win, we asked professional travel photographer Steve Davey for his tips on taking good family photos and this is what he told us:

Travel photographer and all round good bloke, Steve Davey
Kids are a compelling subject for photographs, but too often the pictures are disappointing, conveying none of the emotion or fun of the moment when you took them. Follow these simple rules though and you can be rewarded with great shots that you will treasure for ever!

• Make it fun. Make sure that your taking pictures doesn't turn into a mission for you, and a long boring drudge for them. If it does then you will get disappointing pictures, and very petulant kids!

• Work in short bursts. Kids have a very short attention span. They can get bored with anything if it goes on too long. If you bore them senseless, they are less likely to cooperate with pictures in the future.

• Give your kids something interesting to do. If they are doing something, like colouring or painting, then they are not going to be leaping around quite so much and you should be able to take more, considered pictures.

• Try to use natural light for better pictures. Flash can freeze movement pretty well, but it gives very ugly, harsh light. Try to photograph in natural light for more atmospheric images. Outdoor light is perfect for photographing kids, but avoid direct sunlight in the middle of the day.

• Don't try to pose your children. The pictures will often end up looking false and staged. Allow them to do what they want and photograph the result. The pictures will show their characters better.

• Always keep a camera on you. Often things will happen when you aren't expecting them, and you want to be able to take pictures of them wherever you are!

• Get them used to being photographed. If you get into the habit of taking a lot of pictures then your children will become more comfortable with the camera, and will learn to ignore it, leading to more relaxed images.

• Don't monopolise the camera. Let your children take pictures too. It will make them more comfortable and happy with the presence of a camera!

• Use a relatively fast shutter speed to avoid your kids’ movement showing as blur in the picture. Anything from 1/125 to 1/1000 second, depending on the speed of movement. You might need to increase the ISO sensitivity to make this possible in low light levels.

• Use a continuous auto focus mode. This will cause the camera to continuously refocus, meaning that no matter how much your kids are moving, the camera should manage to keep them in focus.

• Choose your aperture carefully. A wide aperture will give you a pleasingly blurred background, but if the aperture is too wide, then the depth of field might be too shallow to keep the whole of a moving face in focus. An aperture of f5.6 or f8 is a good balance.

• Shoot a lot of pictures. You will probably get a high failure rate, especially if your kids are jumping around all over the place. Sometimes they will have their eyes closed or the focus or composition might be wrong.

• Photograph sad moments as well as happy ones. Don't just be a 'fair-weather' photographer. Your children won't always be happy, and you should take pictures to show this. Pictures of a tantrum could give you all a good laugh in the future.

• Show them the pictures. Most kids love looking at pictures of themselves, so remember to show them what you have taken. Make them feel that they have an ownership of the pictures, and they are something that you are doing together.

• Remember to put the camera down and join in! Whatever they are doing will probably be more fun than taking pictures. Spending time with your kids is probably more important and rewarding than always being their personal archivist!


(c) Disney
Now why not put what you’ve learned to good use!? Enter by going to the P&O Ferries Facebook page now and hopefully it will be you taking one of their ferries to France and meeting Mickey Mouse at the other end!

The closing date is 14th October
so get cracking as the longer your picture or video is up on the site, the better chance you have of winning. If you do enter, let us know and we will tell other North London mums and dads to look out for your entry when voting.

In addition everyone gets a free Disneyland Paris adult ticket if they book a car crossing before Sept 29th for travel any time up to 31st March 2012 so even if you don't win, you could still get to go for free.

Find out more about the competition and free Disney ticket promotion on the P&O Ferries Facebook page


Good luck!

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