Photography Tips for the 4th from Terri Roper!
With the upcoming festivities we wanted to give you some photo tips to give your images an extra sparkle.
If we are lucky and the days are sunny this weekend, put your subjects (otherwise known as family & friends) with their backs to the sun and then use your flash to fill in the shadows. You will need to be closer to your subject as the attached flashes are generally not strong enough to fill in shadows beyond 10-15 feet.
Find a shaded area to take portraits, the light is generally very nice and your subjects will not be squinting due to sun being in their eyes. Buildings, patios, under awnings and large trees are great places to find shade. If you are using the shade from a tree, watch for the splotchy light on your subjects from the shadows from the leaves. Either move them to an area with no splotchy light hitting their faces, or turn on your flash to fill in those shadows.
As a general rule, children and people with lighter eyes, and those that wear sunglasses a lot are sensitive to the sun. They will be squinting if you place them in a position with the sun behind you. Even an open sky with cloud cover or a sandy beach or light building or light colored car behind the photographer may be too reflective, and cause them to squint; even if they are in a shaded area. If they are extra sensitive to the sun and you want to make sure their eyes are open in the photos, move your position so that something darker is behind you. Their eyes will open up, and you will be able to capture their lovely eyes in all their glory.
If you are photographing your subjects with something that is highly reflective behind them; such as a window, mirror, shiny metal, shiny wood, picture frames, etc; move your subjects so they are at a slight angle from the background. This way the flash will hit the background at an angle and not show up as the big white reflection behind them. This also is important to remember when photographing through a window or glass and using your flash, such as photographing the gorillas at the Zoo. Shoot from a slight angle and that large white reflection should be out of your composition and not in your image.
Remember earlier when I talked about the range of your on camera flash. Keep this in mind if you are taking photos at a concert this weekend. Your flash will not be strong enough to extend to the stage. You will only be lighting up those concertgoers in front of you, and not those on stage. Make sure your camera flash is turned off, and your camera will use a higher ISO to capture those moments on the stage. If you have a high end consumer camera or pro camera, you will have more options for improved results.
Overcast days are the best days for portraits. You can place your subjects anywhere and the light on their faces will be lovely. Soft light is especially flattering on women! Think of overcast days as having huge soft boxes in the sky. Colors will also pop more on cloudy days. Check it out, look this weekend to tell if you can see the difference between how colors pop more with overcast/cloudy light vs. strong sunlight. If it is a sunny day with some cloud cover, you can look up at the sky and see where the next cloud is that will cover the sun, and create that gorgeous light. If you and your subjects have the patience to wait it out.
Watch your backgrounds when doing portraits. If you are taking a family photo in a parking lot before everyone leaves, move them to an area with no cars in the background. Same thing for parks, Rib Fest, Lisle Eyes to the Skies,etc.; watch for garbage cans, restrooms, other people walking/standing/sitting in the background. If those distractions are far enough away from your subjects, you can place your subjects in front of them and have their bodies hid those distractions. Not because your family and friends have large bodies, but the distractions in the background become smaller at a distance. This works really well with groups of people.
If you are the family or friend that is always taking the photos; don’t forget to occasionally be in the photos. Everyone wants to see you in those photos as well. Ask someone else to take your group photo so that you can be in them. This will make your family and friends happy!
When you are taking the photo, make sure to just move your finger to take the photo. We all, myself included-especially with my cell phone, move our entire hand when going to click the shutter. This will result in blurry photos because we are moving the camera. Especially in lower light situations. Make sure you keep a steady hand. If you can, find something to lean on to help steady your hand when taking the photos. Also, keep your camera straight if you are not intentionally going for an angled image.
Use both the horizontal & vertical format when taking photos or video. How many times have we seen a vertical video and wish that it had been shot horizontally? You can get so much more environment with a horizontal format.
Remember when I said to place the subjects with the sun behind them and then use your flash? If you don’t use your flash you will get a silhouette or a very underexposed subject or a blown out background. Any of these can be very cool, if that is what you are trying to achieve. If you are inside and have placed your family or friends in front of that large window so that you can have that in the background; this is where the flash comes in handy, and Tip #4 with the advice on shooting with a highly reflective background is the second part of creating a lovely photo.
Know when to put the camera and selfie stick down, and just enjoy the special moments with your family & friends.