August 22, 2014

10 simple tips to improve your photographs.....

Hello friends! Since photography is one of my biggest passions, I thought I'd share a few tips I've learned over the years that can really help improve your photos. Happy shooting!

Leading lines: a pathway that is easy for the eyes to follow. It draws us into the photograph. Look for roadways, bridges, train tracks, shorelines, logs, anything that help create a feeling of depth.

Shoot the red. Our eyes are naturally drawn to red, that's why we have red lights, red stop signs and magazine covers will most often shoot models wearing red. Red immediately adds some interest to your photos. 
The Rule of thirds. When you are shooting a photograph, think of your photo as being divided into a 3x3 grid. Where those lines intersect, is where you want to photograph your subject. Photos feel more static when the subject is placed square in the middle.
Composition. Allow your subject to move. If I had zoomed in and photographed her on one step, it wouldn't have the same energy as leaving the entire staircase in. If your subject is facing to the right, leave some space in the direction they are looking. The space you allow your subject to move within is just as important as the subject you are shooting. 
Adjust your perspective. This is particularly effective when shooting children and animals. Get down to their level. For the photo above, I was lying down on the slide. Lie down next to your pets. Stand on a chair looking down at your baby. Change up your perspective so that you aren't always staring at your subjects straight on. 
Balance: The weight holding the balloons helps balance out the angle they are creating. Photos are also more balanced when shooting in odd numbers. You can create symmetry through asymmetry. Odd numbers help balance out the central subject. It's a principle you'll also see carried through in interior design. Three vases of varying heights, are more interesting visually than a pair of matching vases. 
Patterns: Look for repetitious patterns to create a strong visual impact. I think it is also very effective if you find a strong repetitious pattern with one outlier. For example, if you photographed a close up shot of a bowl of red m&ms and stuck one purple one in the mix. 
Re-think the traditional family portrait: Some of my favourite photographs of our family are close ups of our hands intertwined, or our bare feet all together on a sandy beach. You don't always have to lean in for the smartphone selfies to create beautiful family portraits. 
Natural light: If you are photographing anyone indoors, my biggest tip is to have them face a window.  The natural light is so much softer than any camera flash, and let me tell you, it works wonders for hiding any lines. Here's a simple indoor photo shoot tip for parents: Turn your sofa around, so that the back of it faces the window. Drape a white or solid coloured sheet over it. Have your child sit on the floor, facing the window, leaning against the back of the sofa. It'll look like you photographed them in a studio with the beautiful lighting and simple backdrop.
Get Candid: When I'm photographing my daughter, I'll often just snap random shots while she is playing. I'm way more likely to get a variety of interesting facial expressions in the photographs, truly capturing her spirit than if I stand her in front of me for a "say cheese" moment. 

The beautiful thing about digital photography is that you can practice, practice, practice. 
Remember the days of film where every photo counted? You never knew if you had something completely wrong until you waited a week, dropped a wad of cash,  and reviewed your photographs.  I once had a little point and shoot camera and an entire role of film had my finger in every shot. Here's me and my finger skiing, here's me and my finger at the Canucks game.....

Happy shooting!


Mary J. Forbes said...

Excellent tips, Kelly! Thanks. :)

kelly said...

Thank you so much Mary! I'm so appreciative that you read this little blog.