You’ve read all the “best digital camera” articles, got the best price on your first digital camera, and even glanced at its owner’s manual. Are you itching to take some shots of your family, or what?
Slow down, soldier. Before you take 200 shots that seem great at the time, but then upon review of the final picture are less than what you expected, let’s prepare. Prepare?!?! I’ll bet you thought charging the battery was the hardest part of taking great photos, didn’t you? Sorry to disappoint you, but if you want to improve your photo results 50% in 2 minutes, let’s review some basic advice of the pros.
There are two categories of GENERAL ADVICE which applies, regardless of whether you’re using a digital camera to take family portrait poses, baby pictures, pet portraits, group pictures, funny photos, or even maternity portraits. The first category is…
“Good Planning” Advice for Photography Poses
1) Prepare For The Event
Prepare for the event by thinking about every photograph you want to take and what kind of photography pose or poses you would like to capture. Consider who, where, how, and the type of environment.
2) Take Multiple Photographs
Take multiple shots of each pose (remember, digital memory is reusable, a.k.a. “free”). Regardless of what you say or do, people will blink. And don’t count on spotting small problems on the tiny camera LCD screen (even on full magnification); which leads to…
3) Check LCD Screen
Check the digital camera’s LCD screen for general framing of the picture, any movement, visibility of faces, and the histogram. Note that you can think up a fantastic photography pose; arrange everyone perfectly; and, have the photograph “frozen” (no blinking, and no shaking of the camera)…but, when you check it out in the LCD, you see 2 drunks fighting in the background! And, my favorite…
4) Funny Phrases
Have some funny phrases handy to use just before you take the photo. Don’t use it when setting up for the shot. And, don’t use the same phrase all the time. Throw in funny anecdotes, phrases, names, words that you know your family will find more amusing than “cheese.” A natural smile looks four times better than a fake one. The second category is…
“Location” Advice for Photography Poses
Taking indoor family photography, is very different than outdoor family photograph (duh!). For INDOOR pictures…
1) Wide Angle
You will tend to use the wide angle more often than your telephoto setting. Pay particular attention to your “end people” (those farthest to the right and the left in your viewfinder), and verify there is enough space in picture, so that if cropping is required, the end people don’t have to lose a limb.
2) The Flash
Flash considerations are critical. Do not be outside your “flash range.” For example, if at ISO 100, your flash can properly illuminate 12 feet, don’t attempt any photography pose that requires anyone to stand at 14 feet (unless, of course, it’s evil cousin Ira who you want to appear in darkness).
3) Plan “B”
If you need to be further away than your flash allows, here are 2 things you can try…First, increase the ISO setting (but not so much as to produce to much noise), or second, move to a significantly brighter location.
4) Watch Your Background
If there are distracting features, change your settings to blur the background (see the Techniques page). The best photography pose in the world won’t look right with a distracting background. And finally…
5) Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall
If there are mirrors or reflective surfaces in the background and you can’t find a different location, only take the picture in such a way that the flash is not perpendicularto the surface, but at an angle (unless you want a nice photo of your flash).
Outdoor family photography has completely different issues. For OUTDOOR photography…
6) The Sun
Avoid photographing in direct sunlight, or in mixed light and shade, especially faces. Optimal lighting results from a slightly overcast sky.
When photographing in shade, use fill-flash (see terms) when necessary. And, really finally…
If practical, take the picture at one of the beautiful natural settings near you. Imagine the result of a creative family photography pose captured in a stunning environment.