mom taking photo of father and child
Photography and parenthood make a perfect pair. Both have a fascination with children and seek to capture and appreciate the beauty of childhood. While you don’t need a degree in photography to capture some great shots, having a few skills under your belt can help make you get the most out of the ones you take.
We’ve gathered some valuable tips about basic photography skills from local experts in the field. By sharing some of the information they’ve compiled over the years, you can take your picture taking passion to a whole new level.
The Right Stuff
Rene Garcia, of Astrid and Rene Photography, reminds us of the importance of familiarizing yourself with your camera.
“If you have a camera with removable lenses, you can take some amazing pictures if you just get to know your camera a little,” he says.
He also suggests that you don’t need to have an expensive camera in order to get good shots, and that just because something is more expensive, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is better.
“Many times I see people with expensive pro level cameras and they never take the camera off the fully automatic or ‘Program’ mode,” adds Garcia. “You can take beautiful images with even simple cameras…many point and shoots also let you make many pro-level adjustments.”
Light it Up
Good lighting is another necessity for getting better pictures. Garcia advises that it’s important not to rush in and start snapping without taking a glance and seeing how the available light is lighting up your subject.
“You want to be at about a 45 degree angle to your light source if you’re outside or in front of a window. Never shoot with the sun directly behind you or in front of you,” says Garcia. “Also, if you’re in a brightly lit area with the sun directly overhead, remember that you have a flash and use it.”
Using a flash fills in the dark shadows in our eye sockets that can sometimes be unflattering.
Peggy Farren, professional photographer and owner of Avant-Garde Images, Inc., knows the importance that good lighting plays in delivering exceptional images.
“The one thing you need to learn is how to turn your flash on and off. Fill flash is necessary if your subject is backlit, meaning there is more light behind them than on their faces,” advises Farren. “In the automatic setting, your camera will average out the light and if it’s very bright, it will think it doesn’t need flash.”
In this case, your subject will be dark, while fill flash will light your subject and not overexpose the background. It is best to use fill flash when the subject is in the shade wit a sunny background, or against a window. Fill flash is also ideal for sunset pictures.
Capturing good expressions is another key component to becoming a better photographer. According to Farren, catching a good expression means always having your camera ready. Parents should keep their camera close by and be ready, should a picture taking opportunity present itself.
She encourages parents to be prepared and says, “If your child is squealing with delight about something - grab that camera and click away!”
In addition to having good lighting and capturing good expressions, composition is also a vital ingredient to a great candid picture. Close-ups are generally more visually appealing, especially if you will have small pictures (e.g., 4x6s, screen savers, etc.). There will also be fewer distractions in a close-up picture.
According to Frank Berna, manager of Ritz Camera, having the right equipment and knowing how to use it is essential for turning amateur shots into semi-professional quality pictures. It is also important to be aware of your camera’s capabilities.
Berna also says that people need to realize that a camera is a mechanical device and there are limitations to the photographic process. The camera simply returns what you point it at. Understanding these limitations and getting to know how your camera operates is the first step toward getting better pictures from your camera.
Putting it All Together
By following some of the photography tips from our experts, you should be able to take your photography skills to the next level, and get some great pictures the whole family will love! Who knows, you might even turn your favorite pastime into a profession.
LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHY CLASSES:
Adult & Community Education: Photography classes are offered through the Collier County Public Schools. Find more information at collieradulted.com or call the adult and community education office at 377-1234.
NAPLES PHOTOGRAPHY MEET UP GROUP: www.meetup.com/Photography-Naples for more information. The Naples Photography group is a place for professional and amateur photographers to meet and get hands-on experience with lighting, posing, table top and food photography, portraits and more. Check the online monthly calendar for events, times and themes.