As a professional photographer, I know that thinking ahead can lead to better shots. It’s no accident that my lighting is good, the background is beautiful, and my subjects are smiling. With a little bit of pre-planning, more of your pictures can be “wall worthy!”
First, let’s talk about lighting. If you’re shooting outside, keep in mind the time of day. If you shoot in the morning, your shots will have a cooler, bluish tint to them. In the afternoon, the sun will give a warmer, golden tint until evening. While you can adjust color by adjusting your camera settings or even using Photoshop, knowing the conditions before you start can make your pictures better with minimal tweaking.
Pictures that are shot inside must be carefully planned, as well. Remember to stay between your subject and the window, as your flash may have a hard time competing with bright sunlight. You don’t want to end up with just a black outline of a person in front of a big white square! Make sure there is enough light that you can clearly see your subject without the camera, and use the flash if necessary. Most indoor lighting will give your picture a warmer glow, although fluorescent lights will give a greenish tint. Again, you may want to adjust your camera’s settings to compensate for the light’s color. Today’s digital cameras make it easier than ever, because you can always shoot a few shots to see what you’re dealing with before getting down to serious picture taking!
Planning ahead of time where you want to shoot is also a good idea. Have a few ideas about where you want to go and the best way to get there. Kids tend to get cranky if you drag them from park to park without letting them play on the swings! Bring along some candy if necessary, because kids are not above bribery when necessary to get that great smile. With adults, talking about subjects they find interesting can also help make them more comfortable. If you don’t know them very well, have some questions ready to ask once you pull out the camera. You’ll find that a relaxed subject is a happier subject!
Above all, make sure you and your subjects are having a good time. With a little forethought, your shoot will be a success!
Brooke Pierce is a professional photographer and guest author for BumbleJax.