Photography Tips and Tricks From A Pro

Photography Tips and Tricks From A Pro

Welcome my good friend Pam of Pam Maulden Photography.  She is here to share some photography tips to help you get the most out of your photo shoots.  

Hi, friends! Some of you have been asking about ways you could improve your photography techniques, so I thought I'd share a few simple tips to help you get started.

Lighting

One of the most important factors to capturing a great photo, is lighting. Not enough lighting can lead to dark, blurry pictures. Whether shooting with a DSLR or a camera phone, excellent lighting is essential. I prefer natural light, so I shoot outdoors, or near a window if possible.  The photo below is shot in full shade.  

When shooting outdoors, shoot in open shade and avoid areas that have patchy or mottle shade. This can produce uneven lighting or sunspots which are very unflattering. My favorite time of day to shoot, is an hour or two before sunset. This time of day is referred to as "golden hour" because of the soft, warm light that it produces. I try to shoot as close to golden hour as possible because the closer to golden hour, the better the light. I try to avoid shooting at noon, when the sun is at its harshest.  

Below is an example of a mottled photo from uneven lighting.  He has sunspots on his face, and areas of dark and light on his jacket.  

Background

Another key factor to consider is background. A clean, uncluttered background allows your subject to shine. I try not to position my subject in front of trees, light poles, or anything that can appear to be growing from the head.  As funny as that might sound, this can happen very easily without you noticing until your favorite shot has this issue.  Choose simple backgrounds such as open fields, brick walls, unique doors, etc.  

Separating your subject from the background can help to blur the background. The further away your subject is, the blurrier the background will be. Take a step back from your subject and zoom in. This can also help to separate your subject.  See the picture above to see an example of this.  

Children can sometimes be especially difficult to photograph.  A fast shutter speed is essential to obtaining a nice, sharp photo. If you are using DSLR, make sure your shutter speed is at least 125.  If using a cell phone, make sure there is plenty of light, as this will help to prevent blurring.  Giving your child a small, non-distracting prop can be helpful too. such as a sucker, flower, or small toy.  Let them play naturally, or give them a small stool or chair to sit on. You could also try putting a small piece of clear tape on their finger which creates an exciting challenge for them to play with or remove.  Make sure to remove it after the pictures, if your child is small enough to put it in their mouth.  These tips could distract your child long enough to get some great pics.  The photo below shows how using a fun prop, like a balloon, can encourage a more cooperative subject.  

Photograph above by MJNolte Photography

When photographing clothing, make sure your garments are ironed and your seams are pressed.  You may need to adjust the garment while shooting, especially after moving, or if it's windy.  Make sure sleeves are down, and the garment is straight.  Try to smooth out bunching or wrinkles that would look unflattering or make the garment appear ill fitted.  

Photograph above by Julianne Barley.  See her work at www.facebook.com/beaubespoke

These are just a few tricks to help you get started. I hope you found these tips helpful!

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