Use these tips to start taking better photos today.
My photography journey started slow and steady and was fueled entirely by my desire to take better pictures of my daughter as she grew like a weed before my eyes. It was early in my journey that I learned a few very simple tips that made the greatest impact. Years later it's these basic principles that are still the most relevant in capturing good photos of my children on a daily basis.
1. Fill The Frame
So often you will see photos that have the subject occupying only 20% of the photo with the other 80% being background. Get up close and personal and fill that frame with your beautiful subject! It's your job as the "photographer" to bring your viewer to your subject and minimize the distractions.
2. Get on Their Level
My tiny, but mighty, little humans stand about 36" and 48" currently. If I were to stand and take their picture, I would have albums full of pictures of the tops of their heads! In order to document them in their element, you need to get down on their level, eye to eye.
Bonus Tip: Shoot below them for a really unique perspective.
3. Use the Rule of Thirds
So this is a big one in photography and probably one of my favorite elements in how I compose photos. Visually speaking, the human eye is drawn naturally to anything that falls along a "third". If you visually divide your picture into thirds, both vertically and horizontally, your brain will find it most visually pleasing when the focal point falls along one of the thirds, or even better yet, at an intersection. Many feel inclined to center their subject but for a more professional looking image, try the Rule of Thirds! This one is best illustrated.
If you imagine a grid that separates the photo into thirds. You want your subject or focal point to fall along one of the thirds or at an intersection. This could mean placing the horizon for a sunset along the top line or placing your subject's face at an intersection like below.
The below photo is centered and although a good picture, it could be better.
Can you notice a difference in this photo? It's a small change but adds a lot more dimension and visual interest to the photo. Plus, isn't this cry face adorable?!
4. Capture Moments
If you child smiles and says "cheese" when they see a camera, shame on you!! Just kidding!! The only problem with asking our children to look at the camera and smile is it stops them from what they are doing. The story is one dimensional. Let the credits keep rolling and snap some photos of them just being themselves. LET THEM BE LITTLE!! If you have ever heard 'A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words', this happens when you capture moments like this! Your photo becomes a story.
Capture the feeling...
Capture the emotion...
Capture the story...
5. Find Open Shade
Light is one of the most complex but most utterly important factors in taking a great photos. I will barely scratch the surface with this tip but here goes... You want to avoid harsh light such as mid-day sun. Think beach photos for example. You will get harsh shadows and squinty eyes. Instead, you want to look for soft light. This means areas of shade that are well lit. Once in the shade have your subject face the light source, this should give you a soft but even amount of light on your subject and a beautiful photo.
The sun was just setting behind the building across from us giving us a lot well lit, open shade. Notice how even the lighting is on his face with no harsh shadows or highlights.
Although I love this photo, this was around noon with the sun directly overhead. You can see the shadows cast under his eyes. It's not ideal.
And one more example of how Open Shade allows for a beautiful portrait. We were on our covered deck with my daughter facing the sky (the light source) and you can see how even and soft the lighting is, perfect lighting for a picture!
I hope you enjoyed these tips and found value in them. Use these tips to start taking better pictures today. If you incorporate even one of these tips, you will see an improvement in your photos and how you tell your family's story. Share this with any friends or parents who would also appreciate these.
If you have any questions or would like more information, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'm always happy to help!
This is the first in a series of tips for parents so please be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for the next series announcement. If you have any requests or ideas for a topic, please let me know!
Life moves too fast. Although we can't slow it down, we can record the moments that fill our hearts and tell our story through photos and films. I am a Pittsburgh family photographer and film maker that helps families record their stories and pause some of life's greatest moments.
For special offers, announcements and new products, subscribe to my newsletter below.