With Thanksgiving right around the corner and Christmas knocking on the door, everyone will be pulling out their cameras to take pictures of relatives they haven't seen all year and what a better way to make family memories! But how would you like a few tips to help make your pictures even better? The following are 5 tips that will hopefully help you create some great pictures this year.
#1 – Turn off the flash! The flash that comes on cameras should be outlawed, really. They cause those devil red eyes, horrible shadows and it’s just totally unflattering. Use the natural light that streams through your living room window or go outside when the light is warm and lovely. Just remember, flash = bad!
#2 – Find the light
The best light can be found in the morning before 11am and in the evening after 4pm. These times can vary depending on the season, in summer the evening time will be later. The light at these times is nice and not harsh. Sometimes you can’t help taking pictures at high noon, so if that’s the case, look for shade. Shade is your friend, as long as you have a bright open sky in front of your subject. Make sure to have your subject positioned on the edge of the shade. The reflection from the sky will brighten your subjects face and give great catchlights. Catchlights are the twinkle in their eyes that make your subject come alive in their pictures.
#3 – Be mindful of the background
What sets a really great picture apart from an everyday snapshot is the background. Creating interest with textures on the side of a barn or under a majestic old oak tree can really make your pictures something to cherish. Be careful when you are posing family or children so that branches do not appear to be coming out of their heads or that your dog isn’t in the background making a present in the yard. Another trick to use is pulling your subject several feet away from the background so that the background is slightly blurred, and your family is in focus. What I mean by this is…don’t have your family right up against the background (such as a house, barn, etc), but instead, have them move up towards the camera about 10 ft or so. The background will still be there, but the focus will be on the family. (p.s. - there is a cemetery in the background here...but you would never know if I didn't tell you)
#4 – Get on their level
Whether you’re taking pictures of your toddler or your teenager, get on the same level or plane as they are on. If they are sitting on the ground, don’t take your shot from up above, get down on the ground so you’re at the same level. You will be pleasantly surprised at how that change of height can really make an impact on your final product.
#5 – Composition
The way that you set up your picture in the view finder of your camera can really make a huge difference in the quality of your final picture. At some point in your life, your Aunt Nelda took a picture of you and your husband, but it wasn’t a close up of just you and your husband, instead, the both of you were just a small speck in the picture that included her entire living room and random other people in the background. Paying attention to framing your subjects inside the camera is key. If your camera doesn’t zoom, use the manual zoom – your feet!
Well, I hope this helps you think about things a little differently the next time you pick up your camera this holiday season. Make memories that will be cherished for generations!