Anyone — regardless of the kind of camera they use — can vastly improve the people pictures they take by keeping a few basic photography principles in mind. Not to talk myself out of a job, but here are a few hints for taking better pictures of your friends and family:
- Go outside. Nothing improves a photo more than good light, and the easiest way to achieve that is to step out your front door and turn off the dread flash.
- Look for open shade. Bright, sunny days are beautiful, but in photos they often result in squinty eyes and harsh shadows. Find a big, solid patch of shade and angle your subject towards the sun — you’ll get much more even, flattering light and pretty catchlights in the eyes.
- Get on your subject’s level. The easiest way to improve a kid photo, by far. Squat, kneel, sit, lay down flat on your stomach (that’s what I do!). Getting the camera at the child’s eye level really helps. That being said … Have the subject look up at you. Shooting from above has many advantages, from a simple change of pace, to brightening up eyes, to elongating the neck to a much more flattering angle.
- Eliminate background clutter. Pay attention to what’s behind your subject. Frequently moving just a bit can create a much nicer photograph.
- Use the rule of thirds. A simple photography principle, the rule of thirds states that if you separate your image into thirds both horizontally and vertically, your eye is drawn to the intersections of the lines. In other words, don’t put your subject smack-dab in the middle of the picture.