It’s fun to capture the moments of your life in photos – and, when you get that great shot of your kids, friends or family members, it can feel like a huge accomplishment. However, too often we get excited for that perfect shot, only to see that something doesn’t look quite right. We have some tips for you to be a better photographer. Not even the best photographers get perfect pictures every time, but we can give you a few pointers so that you can set up your photos with a little extra expertise… say “cheese”!
Avoiding the “row of heads”
First, if you are doing family portraits with a lot of adults, or with any people who are approximately the same height, avoid having a row of heads. By having some people sit, others stand, and maybe some kneeling or on chairs, you will create a more pleasing and interesting composition.
Second, if you’re shooting a family portrait that involves both adults and children, it can be hard to get both children and adults into the frame if everyone is standing in a row. It’s best to have the adults sit or crouch so that they are close to the children’s heights. That way, you can see everyone’s faces without an awkward disconnect between heights.
Close the gaps
Family togetherness? Yes! If you’re photographing a group, avoid awkward gaps. The closer everyone is physically, the more connected they will appear in the photo.
Capture movement with natural posture
Remember, too, that your subjects aren’t robots. That means that your photos will look awkward if they’re too stiff. Encourage people to move, bend and have a natural posture when you’re taking their pictures.
Let subjects be a little off-center
Finally, keep in mind that not every photo has to have your subjects exactly in the center. Sometimes, the people appear even more enhanced when they are off to the side with something interesting in the background.
Be eye-level with your subject
The angle from which you shoot your subjects can make a huge difference in how people appear. For example, if you’re shooting from below face-level, you could get unflattering double chins. It’s better to shoot from above or at eye-level.
… or have a fun angle, like from above!
Experiment with fun angles, especially if you’re photographing children. Try kneeling so that you are ground-level with the kids, or shoot from above while kids are lying down.
Using a direct light source
If you’re taking indoor photos, avoid relying on only overhead light. Instead, use lamps or, if it’s a darker day, a direct light source.
The next important concept is avoiding backlighting. In order to get indirect light, move your subject to the side if you can. Twilight and dusk are the two best times to shoot photos outdoors.
Remember, photography is about capturing the essence of the moment – not about ensuring that everyone looks perfect. You want to remember your loved ones for how they actually are, not as perfectly posed images worthy of a greeting card. That means let the kids laugh, play and have fun. Even if you’re trying to get a group, you can have everyone doing a little something different or fun. Your photos will be that much better if people’s personalities are able to shine!