Blog , Technology

Taking Great Photos – Advice for Non-Professionals

Posted on Friday, November 25, 2022
by AMAC, D.J. Wilson

This time of year, as families gather during the holiday season, many people seek to capture special moments on camera. Per Expert Photography, there are seven principles to consider. They include balance, rhythm , pattern, emphasis, contrast, unity, and movement. Though these elements are of the upmost importance for professional photographers, most non-professionals don’t consider these elements. Rather, they prefer to do things simply by putting their cameras on auto focus, pointing, and shooting. But, for those hoping to improve their photo skills, here are a few basic tips:

Landscapes: Choose interesting compositions. Take photos that are bold and compelling, such as black and white cows in a lush green meadow, a lonely railroad car sitting on a broken track, or a wooden pier jutting out into the sea. Also consider time of day and how the lighting plays on your image to achieve the mood you seek.

Group photos: Group photos are notoriously difficult to take. As photographer, you’ll need take charge, arrange people in a staggered formation, and make sure everyone fits the frame. You’re also tasked with getting everyone’s attention so that your subjects are looking in your direction. Make sure you can see all faces and perhaps say something witty so that folks look carefree and happy. Before taking the photo, do consider the direction folks are facing. It’s almost always best to have the subjects facing away from intense sunlight to prevent squinting into the light. You’ll also want to prevent shadows from large objects from being cast across their faces. So, always play around with direction first.

Single portraits: Try to shoot on a slightly overcast day when the lighting is softest. Choose a lovely background for your subject, such as an outdoor scene or a lovely uncluttered neutral wall. Or select a theme such as a violinist sitting in front of a stage or an artist in front of his easel. Have your subject pose with your guidance, for example look in your direction, but always go for a natural pose to avoid awkwardness. Often, when bodies are turned at a slight angle to the camera, they look more natural.  Be sure to capture the magic in their eyes. If you’re seeking a sharp focus with a blurred background, use portrait mode.

Selfies: It’s all about you and being fabulous! But first, practice with your phone’s camera to determine your best angle. Use a selfie stick to avoid straining to take the photo. Always place the camera slightly higher or to your side, rather than taking the photo from below. When putting the camera up, aim to keep the lower part of the phone on the same level as your eyes or forehead and tilt your chin down slightly, making sure that your smile is wide, your eyes are nicely open, and that your eyebrows are gently lifted.

Children and photos: These subjects are grouped together because the photography technique is similar. You’ll want to time the sessions when they are not tired or hungry or fussy and you’ll need quite a bit of patience. When they are calm, you are likely able to gain intimate closeup photos and cute poses, so it’s necessary to avoid overstimulation. However, when snapping the photos, a quick whistle can capture the attention of pet or holding up a toy can get a child or pet to look your way.  Expect to try again later if your subject is uncooperative. Seek highlight their personalities by choosing happy backgrounds or go for neutral when in doubt. Allow children to hold favorite toys or sit in a favorite chair to provide comfort. When taking photos, try different angles, even getting down to their level to capture the magic in their eyes.

Objects:  Choose interesting objects to photograph, such as a fruit basket or flower display, and consider your background. Objects will likely blend more into a busy background and stand out against a single-color backdrop. For still subjects, try using the portrait mode to provide depth. By blurring the background in this mode, emphasis is placed on the object in the foreground and the effect is more dramatic. Most phone cameras will indicate when you need to get closer to an object, thus helping you decide on an optimal distance from which to take the photo.

A common goal of non-professional photo shoots is to capture lovely sceneries and showcase happy people and pets for the sake of documenting memories. The photos don’t have to be perfect, but it never hurts to play around with lighting, backgrounds, distances, camera features and more. Utilizing some of these fundamental tips may help at-home photographers produce photos to be proud of for generations to come.

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