In between professional photography occasions, families have a lot of opportunities to take photos. This is especially true right now with the Holiday season fast approaching. But not everyone has the time or resources to learn all the techniques or purchase the best equipment. So how can you make your photos better with limited time and at no cost? There are a few things everyone can keep in mind, regardless of what kind of camera you have. Here’s 5 of my favorite easy tips for taking better snapshots:
1. Try a new perspective. Most people stand eye level to their subjects and center them in the frame. Rather than resorting to old habits, stop before you press the shutter and ask yourself, “Can I try something different with this picture? Would it look better if I shot from above or below? Or maybe off to one side?” Changing up your angle, position, or even the crop of the photo will often result in a better composition and a better photo overall
2. Be mindful of unflattering angles. While you’re working on better compositions and angles, make sure to be careful that your creative composition doesn’t put your loved ones in an unflattering position. NEVER shoot UP at someone. If possible, the most flattering direction for any body type is to shoot from eye level or higher, keeping them below your camera, rather than above.
3. Turn off the flash! The flash on most point and shoot cameras, as well as lower end DSLR cameras (like the Canon Rebel & 60D) are fixed to face forward. This many times creates a hard light and harsh shadows. Natural lighting, when possible, gives photos a more natural feeling. As an added bonus, it’s easier on everyone’s eyes.
4. Beware of chopping off limbs! When you’re taking a photo, be careful where it crops your subjects. Cutting people off at the elbows, waist, knees or anywhere else that bends, often makes for an awkward looking photo. Instead, try to crop in between these spots. For example, rather than letting the photo cut off at someone’s waist, adjust the zoom so that you’re cropping either midway up their stomach or midway down their thigh. These crops are much more flattering!
5. Give your loved ones a reason to smile. We all do it. We’re sitting there waiting for the shutter to snap and the flash to go off wondering “do I look ok? Is there something in my teeth? what if I blink?”… Your loved ones are likely not professional models and are probably nervous or reluctant to be in front of the camera. This will often result in awkward smiles. If possible, crack a joke right before you hit the shutter. Give them a reason to laugh or smile naturally.
And last but not least, here’s a bonus tip: Don’t forget to enjoy the moment! Sometimes we get so caught up in taking the perfect photo that we forget to stop and experience the moment that makes the photo special. Photography is about capturing special moments. Go ahead and get your picture, but then set the camera down and enjoy the moment that made your photo so memorable!