Having a beautiful and creatively arranged scrapbook is only half of the equation when saving precious memories for the future. No matter how many cute cut-outs, colorful ribbons or clever layouts you use, if the photographs you’re displaying aren’t well composed or appealing, the scrapbook page will be a flop.
Fortunately you don’t have to be a professional photographer or have the most expensive state of the art camera to take great pictures. The truth is that most digital cameras, regardless of the brand or price, offer about the same image quality. What makes the difference between an okay snapshot and a truly amazing photo is the eye behind the view finder.
One of the first qualities to creating a stunning and memorable photo is to care deeply about what you are photographing. Even a child with a disposable camera can make lasting memories when they take photos of things they love. Taking pictures is also a fun and creative way of savoring life’s special moments while spending time with friends and family.
The following tips can help you improve your photographic skills and inspire your imagination.
The standard rule of photography is to bring the camera down to the eye-level of your subject. For kids and animals this creates a closer and more intimate photo than shooting from adult eye-level down. That said, sometimes breaking the rules can create interesting and surprising results. Play around with different angles and perspectives. Get below your subject and shoot upward, or find a very high angle and shoot down.
The initial tendency for most camera enthusiasts is to plant the subject front and center in their view finder. But it makes a more interesting photo if you move the subject slightly to the right or left. If your subject is looking to the right, frame them on the left side of the photo, while if they are looking to the left, frame them on the right.
Try having the subject look over your shoulder or down at an object in their hands rather than staring straight at the camera. This can add a sense of drama or a touch of playfulness to the photo. Be sure to lock your cameras focus feature when placing your subject to the left or right, because most cameras will automatically focus on whatever is in the center of the view finder.
Some of today’s hottest portrait photographers are using less traditional poses to achieve entertaining and exciting photographs. Instead of standing together in a line, get your kids to run at you, jump as high as they can, built a human pyramid or lay on the grass with the top of their heads touching. Using fun and creative poses creates more realistic smiles, and allows personalities to show through. Kids respond especially well when a photo session is less formal and more playful.
Light plays a huge part in getting good photos. Too much sun makes people squint or shut their eyes while too much shadow hides their facial features. Many professional photographers use the flash feature on their camera for both indoor and outdoor photos. Outside, the burst of light will help brighten photos taken on a cloudy day, and clear facial shadows when used in bright sunlight. However, it’s important to remember that most camera flashes only have a range of 10 feet, so make sure you stand close enough to be in range. Also be aware of shadows cast from surrounding trees, buildings or other people.
Have you ever seen a photo of the Grand Canyon with a couple of people posing in the fore ground? This is a case where the photographer was trying to fit both people and scenery into the same snapshot and not doing either very well. If you’re taking photos of children playing, get in as close as you can and blocking out as much of the background as possible. On the other hand, if you’re photographing a mountain range, concentrate on capturing the majesty of the scene without people getting in the way.
Have fun experimenting with different photographic approaches, be creative and you find the styles that work best for you.