I thought it about time I did some more tips for you dear reader, so I’ve popped together six simple secrets to help you make better photographs. Whilst the majority are geared towards portraits, they all also apply to all other areas of photography. So whether you’re shooting the kids in the park, or the Eiffel Tower at sunset, they’re all tips worth learning. So here goes, in no particular order:-
1. Get down to their level
When photographing kids, pets or generally anything smaller than you, get down to their height or even lower. Photos, particularly of kids from above don’t do them any favours, nor do they make great images. Your photos are better when you show engagement with your subject and this is much harder to do from above. They don’t have to look directly at the camera, the eye level angle by itself will create a personal and inviting feeling.
2. Move it from the middle
There are so many rules of composition, thirds, golden spiral, foreground and background elements etc etc but one of the first things you learn as a professional photographer that once you’ve learnt all the rules, start breaking them, but know when and why.
That doesn’t mean that putting your subject anywhere in the frame will make a good photo. Sticking it drop dead centre will undoubtedly create a weak image. Try moving them to the left or right so that they are a third of the way into the frame.
3. Move in closer - zoom with your feet
Particularly relevant if you're using a camera phone or a camera that doesn’t have a zoom. I know that most phones have a digital zoom, but don’t use it. You’d be far better off using your feet. Legendary photographer, Rick Sammon, puts it quite succinctly: "The name of the game is to fill the frame”. By doing this you will eliminate background distractions and show off the details in your subject.
4. Use the flash outdoors
Even outdoors, using the fill flash setting on your camera will improve your images. Use it in bright sunlight to lighten dark shadows under the eyes and nose, especially when the sun is directly overhead or behind your subject. But know the range of your flash. Keeping it on whilst you're taking photographs of Ryan Giggs taking a corner at Old Trafford from Row ZZ isn't going to do a whole lot.
Take an extra minute to become a picture maker rather than a passive picture taker. Add some props, rearrange your subjects, or try a different viewpoint, up high or down low or even a different angle. Bring your subjects together and let their personalities shine.
6. Watch the background
If you’re portrait subject is stood in front of a telegraph pole, your photo may look like the pole is coming out of their head. Take a minute to look at your background and try and avoid any distracting clutter or bright colours.
So there you go. 6 simple steps.... Any questions or feedback, feel free to comment below or email me direct.