By Stephen Curry - Future Proof Photography
You’ve done it; finally bought that shiny new digital camera you’ve been staring at for weeks. Full of confidence that your pictures of the kids will now be superb, you quickly become baffled by a camera with a bewildering array of buttons and other functions that were seemingly designed for use by no-one but the most tech savvy teenager.
Cameras have moved on and are astonishingly versatile, in many ways easier to use than ever (so we’re told), many boasting touch screens, Bluetooth, auto white balance, face and smile detection all designed to help take better pictures. But this isn’t always the case as the most important element, you, the person taking the picture finds when your photos are as poor as usual. So what can you do about it?
Assuming you’re aware of the basics – you have a charged battery and memory card in place (both surprisingly often missed) – when you switch on the camera you will be in auto mode, with a high image quality setting selected and an automatic flash ready to work if the camera thinks the light is too low. Basically you are now ready to take photos and can leave it there, but what if you want to do a little more?
These settings can be changed using the menu button. Cameras often have pre-set simple shooting ‘scene modes’ to help you, such as a night mode (usually a moon), close up mode (a flower), portrait (a face). These settings are a starting point and can be changed. The beauty of digital is that it doesn’t cost anything to take photos. If you don’t know what a setting does you can simply try it and immediately look at the result. Practice and getting to know your camera really does help, don’t be afraid to take lots of photos and experiment. Failing that, there’s always the instruction book…
Put your subject at ease.
Talk to your subject and have a bit of fun, not everyone, especially teenagers, enjoys having photos taken. Kids can be a challenge to photograph, but if they are relaxed you’ll get a far more natural picture, and if they’re getting bored don’t forget to have a little break.
Get closer to your subject.
Don’t always use the camera on the wide zoom setting, zoom into your subject or move closer to the subject and fill the frame. As adults are taller than kids, crouch down to their level, it puts them at ease and you’re looking straight at them.
Keep the camera still.
You don’t need to push the button hard; a gentle press will do the job. You risk moving the camera as you press and the picture can blur.
Take your time and think about the photo.
Yes, sometimes we just want a quick snap, but take a moment to look at your background and move around slightly to avoid other people or distracting subjects.
Take more than one photo.
Kids tend to enjoy having their photo taken, so try taking more than one where possible. They also move around a lot, so you’ll have more chance to take a better photo. Try wide shot, another zoomed in close, another from above.
Built in flash.
It’s ideal in low light but can make your subject look startled as if caught in headlights. Try taking two pictures, one with and one without flash, perhaps moving your subject closer to a window or a light with the flash off. Also remember that flash is usually only effective up to about 4 or 5 metres, so try that earlier tip of getting closer to your subject, especially in large rooms or outdoors. Believe it or not, flash is also useful in bright sunlight for reducing the deep shadows on people’s faces. Switch on the flash instead of auto flash and give it a go.
These tips are just the start. Getting to know your camera, taking a little extra time and a bit of trial and error should improve your photos. Give it a go and make sure you have fun at the same time.
With thanks to http://www.pocketfulofrye.co.uk The place to be for health and beauty, food and drink, news and reviews.