Photographer of Families, Small People and Delightful Places, Travel and Lifestyle Writer and Blogger, Lives in Newcastle, Loves the North, Often Accompanied By A Beagle Named Holly Bobbins

Thursday, July 14, 2016

How To Take Better Photographs This Summer




You may remember I recently wrote my guide to editing with Instagram and whilst that was great it didn't really help you to take better photographs of your kids/cats/dogs so I thought I would try to give you my top tips, I've been in business forever and picked up a lot of great stuff along the way, I'm still learning every day really because the truth is that there's always more to learn and bags of inspiration to be had around every corner.  Hopefully using my tips you can go out there and take better photographs this summer so that when Autumn comes you have tons of beautiful sunny images to remember your best holidays ever.



I'm going to be quite general in this article because we don't all carry around digital SLR's in our pockets and I truly believe that if you have a decent camera phone you can still create lovely images, I use a Canon 6D, Fuji Xpro1 or an iPhone 6S, sometimes I even use a Polaroid Snap or a Fuji Instax mini 70 just for fun.

1.  First and foremost if you are using a camera phone use your native camera to take photos, don't use app cameras if you can as they're often not quite as good, have you ever noticed how bad snapchat photos are in comparison to your native ones?  This is the reason, the camera in the Instagram app is dreadful by comparison to the native camera and so for everything I take the photo and then import it into the app.

2.  Macro mode on an iPhone in later models is activated simply by putting the camera lens as close to the object as you can, try it, you'll get lovely close ups of leaves or beads and kids especially will love this, they'll be fascinated by Macro, why not take them to the park and set them free (with supervision) to photograph leaves and flowers or maybe search for mini bugs.

3. Experiment with angles, if you are photographing the kids why not get down to their level, the same goes for pets, it's not good to hover over your subject and you'll end up with a much more engaging image.



4.  Before you click to take the photograph check your background, watch out for clutter or things sticking out of your subjects head, "way to go man wearing the Eiffel tower hat" said no one.

5.  Experiment with moving, I love asking kids to twirl and catching the movement of it, the fact is that if your subject stands still in a photograph they might feel uncomfortable so a great way to make them feel relaxed is to ask them to move around, I'm talking about kids of course but you can always do the same with adults, it's one of the reasons I ask people to walk at photo shoots, you might hate photos but pretty much everyone can walk towards the camera like they're having a lovely family walk.

6.  Have fun, I love photo shoots and have been photographing kids for over 10 years, my main aim is that the parents love the images and that the kids go away having had the best time.



7.  Tabletop shots from above look great, try to get some good angles and don't worry if you have hands in the shot, nothing like a great shot of a hand grabbing a doughnut or similar, I love a nice shot from above and don't be afraid to give your first person viewpoint, maybe you're holding flowers, showing your gardening feet or fabulous shoes, there's a whole world of possibilities.



8.  Instead of asking your kids to stand in front of things on holiday why not photograph them interacting with their surroundings, this means you won't have to deal with the "no more photos mum" syndrome and you'll end up with great interactive engaging images which look great in scrapbooks.



9.  Be in the moment, if there's one thing I've learnt it's that you can't recreate a moment that's passed, if you miss that X moment don't try to recreate it, it won't be the same, just enjoy being in the moment and don't worry, you'll catch it next time.



10.  High noon sun can make for an unattractive image, look for shade or if you have to stay in the sunshine, shoot into the sun and then you can increase the shadows on your kids faces or just use a smidge of fill flash but be careful, burnt out faces are almost as bad as panda eyes.


If it's all too much responsibility you could always book a family or kids photo shoot with me during the summer holidays and until midnight on Friday you can purchase a voucher for a £75 photo shoot for only £35, just email me and I could be photographing your memories really soon.

For more details about Newcastle Photographer Mandy Charlton, please see my website.




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