Custom photography is awesome, but unless you are a photographer it isn’t practical for every day photos. Snapshots are essential and today I want to share with you a few simple ways to make your pictures more aesthetically pleasing whether you are using a DSLR, a simple point and shoot, or even an iPhone. So, with no further ado…
Better Pictures in 3 Easy Steps
Obey the rule of thirds!
Just like in pretty much every other area of life, photography has “rules” (which are okay to break when you know why you are breaking them). One of the biggest rules is the “rule of thirds.” Imagine a tick-tack-toe grid over your picture; basically, you want to place the main subject (or whatever you are wanting to draw attention to) on the intersection of these lines. Essentially, you generally want to avoid completely centering your subject as this can create awkward positioning.
Do you see how the baby is placed in the left third of the frame? You can also place subjects in the top and bottom thirds and still be following the rule. You just don’t want them in that middle rectangle.
Light up the eyes.
You know that whole “the eyes are the windows to the soul” thing? It’s pretty much true, and it is especially true in photographs. Angle your subject so that the light falls in their eyes and creates some nice “catchlights.” This always takes me back to when I was a kid and used to draw the little quotation mark or apostrophe type shapes in the eyes of my drawings because Minnie Mouse or <insert random other cartoon character name here> had them, but I never knew what they were or why they were there… This is one of those moments where you divulge a childhood quirk that you thought everyone had and they all stare back at you in silence as they contemplate your freakness. In case that was just me, here’s an example…
Nail the exposure.
“Well, gee, Sarah… I’d love to nail the exposure if I knew what the heck that meant!” Right then, let’s get to it. Exposure refers to the amount of light in an image (which is determined by the big three: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed… but we won’t get into that; this is simple stuff). Now, sometimes you can’t control the amount of light, but we are going for ideal here. If you are using a point and shoot, you probably won’t be able to adjust the “big three” so then what can you do? You use a fill flash (being a natural light photographer, I am obviously biased and don’t usually advocate for flash, but this is one of those times that it can be useful). If it is a sunny day, you may think “oh, I don’t need flash… I have enough light,” but you are likely to end up getting a severely underexposed subject or some really harsh and unflattering shadows depending on how the sun/light is placed. So, either use your flash or a reflector. Well, what’s a reflector? It reflects the light back onto your subject. Professional reflectors get very expensive very quick (even for smallish ones; they also can be very big), so you can use something like a white posterboard or the white t-shirt you are wearing. ^_^
See how the sun is at her back? If I hadn’t used some fill, then she would have been super dark.
So, now you can take even more awesome and adorable snapshots. I would love to see them and know if this helped you, so leave a comment with a linky for me!