Top tips for taking great photos
In this modern era, we have no excuse for not having enough photos of our children and loved ones. In fact, so high tech are we these days that it is nearly impossible to buy even a mobile phone without an inbuilt camera and movie function. This alone means we should never have to miss a photo op if the need arises.
To help you get the most of your family get-togethers and to ensure you don't miss any magic moments, we called upon Claudia Forward of Sunrise Creations to give us the inside drum on how to get the best from our subjects - from babies at christenings, toddlers through to teenagers at birthday parties and onto group shots at Grandma's 60th. Follow the tips below, and taking photos really will become child's play.
Portrait Style Photos of your Baby or Child
A baby is the most precious gift of all. The photos you take of your newborn/baby and child will be plentiful - especially in the digital age! Unfortunately, they don't always show what your see. Your child is perfect and you would like your photos to show this.
- Home Studio Set Up
The easiest way to set up your own home studio, is to get a white sheet and drape it over your your furniture and onto the ground. If your baby is not sitting yet, put a pillow underneath the sheet for support.
- Lighting: The best light is natural light
Morning or afternoon is the where the sun is the softest. For indoors or on cloudy days, use your flash (night flash or fill flash are great).
Bring yourself down to their level and face them directly. This will avoid photos of the tops of their heads or looking up their nostrils
- Stand Back and Zoom In
There are a number of reasons why this rule is so important:
- Zooming in isolates the subject from the background;
- Being too close you can distort your baby's face;
- The flash can drown out the baby's features;
- If using a flash, the lighting will be a lot softer on the baby's face, if you stand back and zoom in.
- If you have no choice but to stand close, put your camera on the flower setting (i.e. macro).
There are so many photo opportunities at a child's birthday party, but they are often missed. Here are some photo tips to help you capture the day!
- Be Prepared Create a list of must have photos, e.g.: - Before the party take one of the birthday child; - Your setup before and after, including close ups of the birthday cake; - Candid photos; - Group photos; - Kids on arrival (This can perhaps be done with a theme background near the present table or front door. e.g. for a fairy party, hang a white sheet with a pastel coloured chiffon material over it);
- Who will take the photographs? Assign a photographer;
- Eye level Take photos of kids at eye level - tops of heads are not that attractive;
- Zoom Frame your subject, i.e. use your zoom!
- Be Quick Kids are fast and have a short attention span;
- Be ready! Half press your shutter down and wait. This way the camera is already focused.
- Table shots If sitting on a rectangle table, take the photo from the wide side, to ensure everyone is in focus and can be seen;
- Background Keep it clutter free, move if you have to!
It is not always easy to take a photo of a group at a Birthday Party, Function or Gathering. One reason is that the opportunity does not present itself on its own and another reason is deciding when the right time is to disrupt everyone. The larger the group the harder it is, as a result it is quite often the photo that does not get taken - and what a shame that is!
Here are some tips that will help:
- Timing When to take the photo? Most of the time the photo will work best when taken at the beginning of your gathering - People look their best! If the group is moving to another location, i.e. for drinks, a meal, take advantage of the fact that they are moving around.... this will avoid disruption.
- Stay HIGH When taking the photo, hold your camera up high, stand on a chair or step ladder. This will avoid the focus being just on the people in the front row.
- Background Avoid distractions in the background - unless they add meaning to the photo
- Windows - avoid them! Try to avoid taking photos of a group in front of a window. If you have no choice, use your flash.
- Wait your turn If there is more than one photographer, wait until the others are finished, otherwise everyone will be looking in different directions
- Take Control and Enjoy IT! Tell them how you would like to stand if they can't see you, you can't see them.
- BE QUICK!! People want to get back to their festivities. An impatient group will not make the best photograph