You might be asking yourself “Advice on taking better pictures, I thought this was a photo organizing newsletter, not a photography newsletter?” You’re right, but a big part of how I help clients as a photo organizer is create beautiful albums. And it can be challenging to create beautiful albums when working with photographs that are are poorly composed. Here are a few simple tips for you to take better pictures, so I can make albums that tell your story!
1. Background Check
Don’t be so focused on your subject that you forget the background. Look for a clean uncluttered background that doesn’t distract from your subject. You can usually avoid a tree branch or lamp from protruding from a subject’s head by just taking a few steps to the side. I’m guilty of this too. Last week my mom asked me to take a picture of her with her grandchildren. I didn’t notice a piece of coral on the bookshelf behind my daughter until I saw the picture on the computer. She has a ridiculous looking “coral crown” right on top of her head! Ooops, thank goodness for photoshop.
2. Use the Rule of Thirds
Subjects perfectly centered or landscapes with the horizon line in the center of the shot are not as interesting as if the subject is off center. You can display grid lines in cameras and iPhones. Place subject in an intersection of the grid lines to follow the rule of thirds.
3. Don’t Lose the Limbs
Try not to cut people off at the joints. Crop at mid-thigh or waist rather than at knees or hips. Don’t crop out hands or feet or the top of a head.
4. Play with Perspective
Don’t always shoot from a standing position or straight on. Get on your knees or on the ground, move to the side, or try a higher point of view.
5. Zoom In
Use your camera zoom, or step closer, to crop out distractions. You want to fill up the picture with your subject and get up close and personal.
6. Pyramids and Triangles
For group shots each head should have its own space, to form a triangle or pyramid. Encourage your subjects to pose close together, even the awkward cousin who usually stands far off to the side.
7. Tell a Story
Plan ahead and take monthly shots of babies, and annual shots of older children, in the same place with the same props. Another interesting grouping for an album is a sequence of slightly different shots of the same event.
You want your album to tell a story. If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine the story you’ll tell with an album full of interesting, well composed, distraction free pictures. Try to apply a few of these tips next time you take out your camera or phone, and then share your story.