You might think that you should only use flash at night time or indoors, but that’s not the case at all. If it is an extremely bright day outside and the sun is creating harsh shadows on your subject, switch on your flash. By forcing extra light onto your subject, you will be able to fill in those ugly shadows and create an even exposure.
When photographing people, especially while in countries with different cultures and languages, it can be hard to communicate. In certain countries if you photograph someone you are not ‘supposed’ to photograph, it can get ugly and rough very quickly if you are not careful. So out of respect you should always ask permission. I have started shooting a series of school children in Pakistan. These are all posed portraits and they are looking down the lens. My guide helps me with the language and I limit myself to smiling, shaking hands, giving ‘hi-five’ and showing them the image on the back of my camera once it is done. You would be amazed how quickly people open up. — Andrea Francolini Andrea Francolini is a well known Italian born, Sydney based sports photographer. He is also the founder of My First School, as trust which has the aim to facilitate educations in Northern Pakistan. You can see his work here.
Before you raise your camera, see where the light is coming from, and use it to your advantage. Whether it is natural light coming from the sun, or an artificial source like a lamp; how can you use it to make your photos better? How is the light interacting with the scene and the subject? Is it highlighting an area or casting interesting shadows? These are all things you can utilise to make an ordinary photo extraordinary.
The best way to hone your skills is to practice. A lot. Shoot as much as you can – it doesn’t really matter what. Spend hours and hours behind your camera. As your technical skills improve over time, your ability to harness them to tell stories and should too. Don’t worry too much about shooting a certain way to begin with. Experiment. Your style – your ‘voice’ – will emerge in time. And it will be more authentic when it does. — Leah Robertson Leah Robertson is a super talented Melbourne based photographer and videographer, specialising in music and documentary photography.You can see her work here.
It was the famous photojournalist Robert Capa who once said “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” He was talking about getting in amongst the action. If you feel like your images aren’t ‘popping’, take a step or two closer to your subject. Fill the frame with your subject and see how much better your photo will look without so much wasted space. The closer you are to the subject, the better you can see their facial expressions too.
This is a technique to use when you want to draw attention to something in your photograph. By framing a scene or a subject, say with a window or an archway, you lead the viewer’s eye to the primary focal point.
When it comes to post-processing, don’t overdo it. A good artist knows when to stop, take a step back and admire their work. There are certain things photographers tend to do when editing their work. One area is to put too much mid-tone contrast into their images. This type of contrast is found in Lightroom under the ‘Clarity’ slider. This gives the edges a little pop. It also helps to pull out details in the skin. It works a treat – in small amounts. Don’t crank it up, just use enough. No more, no less. Read more tips on what to avoid doing here.
A photography contract for family photography is to ensure both parties retain their rights. It makes sure that neither side can do anything with the images that were not pre-discussed and agreed upon. Risk of prosecution from either side can be enforced if consent was not given. One rule for photographing people is to get a model release. This is a contract between both parties, allowing the use of the model’s image. Most stock photography requires this if you wish to sell the images online. Read here for the other nine tips on what your photography contract needs to have.
If you have a Speedlite, why not try some DIY projects. Store-bought modifiers can be expensive to buy. You might find you don’t use them all the time. Creating them at home means that you get to try different ways. You’ll need a few to light your portraits without spending a lot of money. You can try before you buy, or keep the ones you made. This lets you be very creative in obtaining the lighting look you want. With a few small pieces of plastic, you can create a few different modifiers. Other items you might have laying around the house. You might need to buy a pack of Pringles. But then you can enjoy them too! Check out our tutorial.
Just because you are photographing someone’s family, it doesn’t mean it has to be at eye level. Most of the images you will see are like that, so break it up. Showing a different perspective helps to create something interesting and creative. And let’s face it, all families are different. They all have their quirks. Use these to your advantage. If the group has small children or even toddlers, get the adults on the ground too. It’s a great, playful way to capture the family. Want to know more composition tips for family photos? Read them here.