Author: Alyssa Craig
Summertime means the kids are home, family reunions are coming and there will be plenty of opportunities for the family to spend time together and create memories. This is a great time to get out that camera and capture these moments so you can preserve them for years to come. These memories are important, so you want these pictures to come out clean, crisp, and freeze the emotions in time.
Whether you are a seasoned photographer or an amateur trying to become a little better, here are some things to keep in mind to improve your photography skills this summer:
1. Practice Every Day: Always have a camera with you, even if it is just the one on your phone. Make an effort to take pictures every day and pay attention to what works better and what techniques/settings you should stop using.
2. Hold Camera Properly: Support the lens by cupping your hand underneath it. With the other hand, grip the body of the camera. This will help to stabilize the camera and decrease the number of blurry pictures you produce.
3. Use Light to Your Advantage: Pay attention to where light is coming from. This means natural light, artificial light, and watch where shadows are being cast.
4. Read Your Camera’s Manual: This might seem silly or tedious, but it will go a long way if you take the time to learn how to use all the different settings and capabilities on your camera.
6. Framing: Frame a scene or subject to lead the viewer’s eye to whatever you want the primary focus to be.
7. Shutter Speed: Fast action shots (think kids running around and playing) use speeds of at least 1/500th of a second and even 1/1000th to 1/2000th. The slower your shutter speed, the better you can capture still moments.
8. Golden Hour: This is the best time of day to take pictures if you want to do portraits or take family pictures outside. This takes place shortly after sunrise or before sunset during which daylight is redder and softer compared to midday when the sun is high.
9. Keep it Simple: Choose just one or two points of interest in your picture. Don’t try and focus on too much or else it will just look messy and distracting. This also applies to backgrounds. Try to avoid taking pictures with busy or messy backgrounds.
10. Perspective: Change it up. Learn how taking pictures from different angles and heights changes the outcome of the picture and how the subject is presented. Crouching leads to more dynamic subjects while height will minimize their presence. So kneel, climb, lie down, or twist to get that perfect shot.
11. Shade: When lighting is not working in your favor, using even shade will give you better exposure for your picture.
12. Rule of Thirds: Divide your frame into thirds with vertical and horizontal lines. Place subjects at the cross-sections for the best points of interest.
13. Exposure: Change the exposure to account for the effects of the sun (or other light source) being too much or too little. For less sunlight, increase the exposure and vice versa.
14. Create Your Own Home Studio: If you want to take more official portraits of your family, consider creating a home studio like this one. It will help you to control the background, lighting, and other elements that are out of your control in nature.
15. Get Closer: Oftentimes a picture can go from good to great if you just take a few steps forward. Do not be afraid to get closer than you might think is necessary. This can create a great shot.
15. Posing: When taking pictures of your family, focus on their eyes and don’t take the picture straight on for the best angle. Make sure everyone is comfortable and consider taking natural, candid shots. You may come away with a really sweet moment captured forever.
Now that you know some of the rules a little bit better, make sure you still keep a sense of fun and adventure. Take risks with your photography and take many pictures, as sometimes it can take quite a few shots to get that one perfect image. When you upload your albums this summer, all your friends and family will rave about your talented photography.