Tutorial can be a daunting word; I am striving to change that image.
Have you read my first two photography posts? They are guidelines to help the everyday photographer take photographs like a professional. I may be writing myself out of a job here, but taking a quality photograph is achievable by anyone. My tutorials explain, in non-tech language, basic guidelines that will help you elevate your snaphots to photographic art.
Today I am breaking my trend and sharing not one but three tips that you can easily incorporate in your photo-taking. Combine them with my first two and you just might not need to ever pay studio prices again.
First...don't ask your kids to, "Say Cheeeeeese!" I can't tell you how many perfect images I had in my viewfinder before some well-meaning parent instructed their child to SMILE! It might sound like a good idea at the time (and believe me, when I am taking snapshots of my kids I sometimes find myself fighting the urge), but I promise you...your favorite pictures of your children won't be those with the plastered-on grins. Your favorites will be the ones that capture their real spirit and personality, which is only visible when they are unselfconscious. That cheesy grin is a mask over their real selves...and nothing is more precious than that.
Secondly, take it outside! As long as the weather won't destroy your camera, you can bet that going outside for a mini photo-session will usually help you capture your child at their most authentic. Let the kids play and just shoot...don't censor yourself or them. Go ahead and take a picture of them as they spin past you on the merry-go-round. You might get an amazing shot! Or, stand at the top of a slide and shoot as your child slides down...you'll be amazed at how much you love that shot later. Best yet, creep up on them as they are engaged in some quiet play time and catch them unawares.
Lastly, for today, I'd like to encourage you to use your flash ALL THE TIME. That's right, just override your camera's ability to decide for itself if it needs the extra lighting and use it ALWAYS. In a super sunny situation, the flash helps get rid of annoying facial shadows - which aren't flattering to anyone. In a back lit situation (that means, for example, your child is sitting in a window seat through which sun is streaming; it creates a silhouette), the flash makes sure the subject is lit. In just about every situation, having the flash on makes for a better shot.
The bottom line is, no-one will ever be able to take better photographs of your children than you. They will never comfortable with a strange photographer, so with you behind the camera, images of their true selves will be possible. What more does a parent want?
More next week!