Posted on September 30, 2011
As the title suggests, this is the second part of my exciting trilogy of tips for parents wanting to improve their family photography. Part 1 of the series is below or here.
I hope the first three tips were helpful and inspired you to try new things while taking photos of your kids and family this week. Here are a few more ideas to think about.
4. Go towards the light. This one assumes you are using an automatic setting and on-camera flash. If this is too basic, you’re ready for #9.
If you squint when looking at your pictures, do you see the people as dark silhouettes on a light background, or bright white faces on a black background? This is caused by pointing the subjects away from the sun (or light source), or popping a flash right onto the subject, leaving everything else in the dark. Whenever possible, use natural light to your advantage. An old trick is to hold your hand out flat but turned with your thumb up (like you’re going to shake hands). Notice what side of your hand has more light, and turn your subject’s eyes toward that light. If it’s noon on sunny day, you will want to put your family in the shade, but try to keep the background shaded as well. If you have to use the flash, back up from the person/people so the flash falls around them and not just on their nose, cheeks and forehead!
Bright sunny day at the beach. Great for tanning, not so much for photos, so I took these cuties to the shady side of the lifeguard station. The images in the center and on the right, would still be challenging when you’re using the auto setting, but they illustrate how bright it was that day. Simply turn towards the shady wall, and the one on the left would work for most cameras.
5. Take a look around.
Before you click, look all around the screen or viewfinder at the entire composition of your photo. Is there a lamppost sticking out of someone’s head? A random tourist strolling by in the background? Are Junior’s feet cut off? Is Dad’s arm missing?
Here, I turned and found a cute moment between cousins. In my rush to not miss it, I snapped once and cut off a leg. Then I took a step back and got the image on the right.
Taking a second to be thoughtful and purposeful can make all the difference between a snapshot and a good portrait. And that leads me to my next point…
6. Shoot less.
Switching from film to digital has liberated many of us to experiment and enjoy taking many more pictures than we would have in the past when we had to worry about wasting precious film. However, it’s also given many a parent license to take a jillion photos of the same event with the thought that, “one of those will come out.” But that leaves you with a jillion images to cull through later and still sometimes not one of those is a keeper. Tips #5 and 6, will help you to follow #7 and 8…and you’ll have to wait until next week to get those last ones!
Have a good weekend, everyone. If you are in Jacksonville, the weather is supposed to be beautiful, so get outside and enjoy it. Keep these ideas in mind as you take photos (but not too many)! If you have questions or some success you’d like to share, email me. I’d love to hear from you. Finally, check back on Tuesday for the last few tips.