Pictures of the people we know and love are sure to make us smile. We all want to capture the special moments in our lives on film, but getting that perfect shot can be tricky. The following are some tips to photographing these memories
Don’t work too hard placing your subjects. The goal is for them to relax and strike up a natural pose. Try shooting in your subject’s favorite place and add a couple of props to make it more compelling. A trophy, musical instrument or pet can create a more interesting composition. Better yet, try to get candid shots. We all have the impulse to get people to stare into the camera, but if you avoid that it will yield better results. People interacting with each other or doing the things they enjoy will give you a better representation of the personalities of the people you are trying to photograph. Remember that variety is important, so show them working, playing or chatting with one another.
Fill the camera’s viewfinder or LCD display with your subject to create pictures with greater impact. Step in close or use your camera’s zoom feature to emphasize the most important components of the picture and exclude unnecessary background. Be sure to check your camera’s closest focusing distance so that your pictures are clear.
Use Natural Light
Bright sun makes everybody squint. It also casts harsh, unflattering shadows. The best lighting for taking pictures of people is a day that is cloudy or overcast; the soft light is more flattering for faces. When taking pictures of people indoors, turn off the flash and rely on natural light coming in from windows to give your subject a soft, appealing glow. If you are taking pictures on a bright sunny day, however, use the ‘fill flash’ mode if your camera has it. Your camera will flash in spite of the available light, fill the shadows cast by the direct sunlight and create a more flattering portrait.
Keep Backgrounds Simple
Remember that keeping the background of your pictures simple will focus attention on the subject and the result will be a stronger picture. Place subjects against a plain, non-distracting background. Remember to look at the entire frame through your viewfinder before you shoot; moving to the right or left slightly can eliminate distracting backgrounds and keep the focus where you want it.
Lock the Focus
A picture of several people can come out blurry because most auto focus cameras focus on the subject at the center of the viewfinder. When photographing more than one person, the camera may focus on a tree in the background rather than the people in the picture. By centering the subject on the viewfinder and pressing the shutter halfway down, you will lock the focus on your subject. You can then move the frame until you are satisfied with the composition of your photograph and press the shutter the rest of the way down.
The most fleeting years in the lives of our children is while they are babies. Before you know it that cute little infant will be boarding the school bus! Make picture-taking a priority and you will be glad you did. Photos of babies will give you something to share with friends and family and treasure for years to come.
Take Frequent Pictures
Be sure to record all the ‘firsts’ in your child’s life. The first tooth, first step and first smile are treasures that can be captured on film. Think about following your baby for an entire day from time to time: from the first morning yawn and stretch to the last goodnight, ‘a day in the life of your baby’ will become a series you will treasure for years to come. Be sure to include wails, grimaces, yawns and pouts too!
Try Different Angles and Include Others in Your Photographs
Shoot at your baby’s eye level. Prop your baby up on someone’s shoulder, line a bunch of babies up on the sofa, or stand on a sturdy chair and shoot down on your baby in the crib. Don’t forget that big sister with baby, Grandpa dancing with his baby granddaughter or Grandma feeding a messy 1-year-old are certain to yield fun and expressive photographs.
Photographing Older Children
Kids are always climbing, exploring and learning new things. Try not to limit your picture taking to birthdays, holidays and vacations. A regular routine of picture taking will give you a wonderful documentation of your kid’s growing-up years, and the day-to-day routines are often the memories we treasure the most.
Begin a Photo Tradition
Take the same type of picture at the same time each year and you will find yourself with a fun chronicle to look back on. A child’s first day of school in front of the same tree in the yard, for example, can illustrate how much your child – and the tree – have changed over the years. On Father’s Day, surround Granddad with all the grandkids, or take a picture of the kids on the first and last day of summer. Remember that candid photos are sometimes the best kind. Resist the temptation to pose your subject for every shot.
Don’t forget to include your kids’ friends in your pictures. Everyone loves to look back on their best 2nd grade friend years later and see how everyone has changed. Memories like “That’s when we all shaved our heads!” and “Look at Molly with no front teeth!” are sure to remind everyone of happy times.
Let Kids Record Their Own World
Give your child a camera and see what he comes up with. Some of their photographs may surprise you. One-time use cameras are the perfect things to give a small child; they are inexpensive and small, and it is not a problem if they get lost. It’s a whole new world when we look at things through a child’s eyes!
Remember that things change, people change and some of our most treasured memories can be relived over and over when we have pictures. A gathering of friends and family where everyone reminisces about years gone by over pictures from the past is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon, and is a sure way to bring people closer together.
Source information adapted from kodak.com ‘Taking Great Pictures.’