Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Photography Tips for Beginners

My blogging friend Erin recently had her baby too (though she was supposed to have hers already). She said she was almost afraid to post pictures of her baby on her blog as she was not happy with how any of them were turning out. So I sent her an e-mail with a few basic tips for shooting people (different rules would apply for shooting things like scenery) and figured I would share them with you. Try these and I think you will be amazed at how much your pictures improve.

-First get some good natural light. I love shooting next to a big window. Don't shoot into the window though, be parallel with it. Also, you don't want the sun shining in so much that you can see the window pattern on the floor, you want that bright indirect light. And since you are shooting with this natural light turn the flash off! Direct flashes make people look flat, bring out flaws and just aren't as flattering. At times flashes are needed, but if you can shoot without one.

-Second get down on your kid(s) level. Adults often take pictures of kids from adult perspective, towering above them, but you should get down on the floor, even lay on the ground if you need to and then you are eye level with the kid(s) and can get a good shot of the face. Also if shooting the face close up, either shoot straight on, or from the top of the head looking down, otherwise you get some nice up the nose shots (which I did the other day by mistake..hehe)

Up the nose shot-don't do this
move over one step to the right, and much better

-Third: Get in close! No one wants to see the stack of magazines or dirty laundry in the background. Get in close to the kid (or zoom in) and then get in even closer and you will probably be at the right distance.

I'm picking on the wonderful NICU nurse that took this.. so much distracting background.
A little bit of cropping.. and much better (though it could be cropped more)

Hint: You do not want to rely on post-picture cropping to get rid of the distracting background, the more you crop a picture then the smaller you will be able to print it before it gets blurry.. so better to just get in close.

Try these tips out, I think you will be amazed at how much better the pictures can look. Just beware if there is not enough light then the pictures will probably be blurry.

And here is a link to a post I wrote about light way back when about 5 people read my blog


  1. I'll take any tips I can get, I'm still working on this photography thing ;)

  2. Nice tips! I always like to use backdrops if I'm taking pictures indoors as well. :)

    And I am the queen of cropping! I should just move in, but I always end up cropping anyway!

  3. Great tips! Have you ever looked at the Digital photography school? They are a great web sit with amazing info on everything.
    My home computer has not been working for some time. I can't wait to get it up and running again so I can get some good pictures posted.
    You have great talent and a good eye!
    Do you shoot in RAW?

  4. Yep, these are all still very good tips and thoughts. Now, I need to get pictures when she isn't crying... :)

  5. Great tips. I adore the photo of your family! How sweet.

  6. I'm really glad you shared those tips! They make so much sense!

  7. I can see how much Ryder has grown now. I know when Eric holds him he looks even smaller, but really I can see it.

    I am going to try the window trick.

  8. See, now to some people, these tips may seem like common sense. But to me, they are the first insights into photography I have learned. I think novice is an understatement for me.
    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Your pictures always turn out great, so I'm totally taking what you say and applying it to myself!

  10. Great job with this!! Your examples were clear and easy to understand!!! what a difference once little step made. You have a gift for teaching.

  11. Great advice. I especially like the get on their level advice. So many of our pictures are of kids from a bird's eye view.

  12. Great pointers! thanks so much for the help. i can't wait until tomorrow to try these tips out.

  13. Thank you Emmy, great tips! Now I just have to figure out how to inscribe a mark on my photos!

  14. Lighting and perspective really do make all the difference...