HarvardHomemaker

By HarvardHomemaker

I'm a Harvard graduate and homemaker who blogs about living (and loving!) the domestic life with my husband and four young daughters. My blog now permanently resides at www.harvardhomemaker.com. Please visit me there!

Posted on in Photography
Tags: kids,  fun,  memories,  memory making,  photography,  tips,  photo tip

How to Take Great Pictures from Behind Your Subjects

I love photography.  I take tons of pictures, and I manage to capture some sweet moments even if I really don't know how to shoot in any mode other than auto!  (someday I will figure all that out!)  One of my favorite ways to get some great shots is to take pictures from behind.  When the subjects face away from you, there is no worry about smiles.  Squinting, closed eyes, and shadows on faces are no longer a factor. You can't even tell if a child is having an absolute melt-down!  (In the collage below, my children are completely covered in spaghetti sauce in one shot, and one daughter is bawling in two other pictures--can you figure out which ones?!  Probably not.  That's the beauty of this angle!)  :)  

There's something special about photographs where no one is looking.  Nobody is posing or trying to make the perfect face for the camera.  Even if your children were being totally uncooperative at the time, you will probably see a beautiful timelessness in your shot.  I have photos like the ones below framed all over our house.  Each one tells a story for me, and I love the memories I see in them.  I feel like each photo has captured a special moment... and for just a second, time has stood still.  

Keep reading for some tips on capturing moments like these...


TIP #1:  DON'T BE AFRAID TO SHOOT OFF-CENTER


Not all pictures have to be centered.  In fact, the ones that are off-center are oftentimes more interesting.

Just be sure to point the camera at your subject, push the button halfway down to focus, and then move your camera off to the side a bit to snap the photo.  If you skip that step, your camera will focus on whatever is centered in the distance, and your subject will be out of focus.


TIP #2:  WAIT PATIENTLY AND WATCH THROUGH YOUR LENS


In the shots below, there was no planning involved.  I just watched my kids play through the lens.  I was a spectator and they were doing their own thing.  When things looked good, I pushed the button.  That's it.  Sometimes just waiting for something to happen rather than forcing the perfect pose results in some great shots.  And these are the types of photos that truly capture real life... my favorite kind of picture!

* The picture above is one that I mentioned in the introductory part of this post.  We had just had dinner at an Italian restaurant, and our girls were an absolute mess.  If they were to turn around, you'd see that they looked like they had just participated in a red-paint-flinging-contest... especially that little peanut on the right.  :)  But that's what I mean about each picture telling a story and capturing moments.  I love that we can have this pretty shot displayed in our home, and yet it also reminds us of the crazy stage we were in back then where every dinner out was an adventure!


TIP #3:  CROPPING CAN CHANGE A PICTURE COMPLETELY


These pictures were much sweeter once I cropped them in.  You seem to capture more of the emotion in the shot when you are a bit closer to the subjects, especially when they are showing emotion toward one another.  Not to mention there were other people or distractions in the periphery--so I just got rid of all that!  Try it with a good photo sometime and see if you can turn it into a special photo just with some simple cropping. 


TIP #4:  BE CREATIVE WITH YOUR CAMERA ANGLES


Sometimes it's fun to mix things up.  Occasionally I angle my camera and shoot diagonally.  You can also edit your photo afterward to angle it--most photo-editing software allows you to play with that.  (That's what I did in all three of the photos below--I tipped the horizon after the fact.)  Typically I'm straightening a horizon because it bothers me when a beach shot, for example, is just slightly crooked. But once in a while I angle things to an extreme on purpose--it gives you a more modern vibe.  See below for some ideas.


TIP #5:  ALMOST GUARANTEES GOOD SHOTS:  WALK TOWARD THE WATER


Even if you consider yourself to be a complete novice when taking pictures, you can almost count on getting some nice shots at the beach.  So the next time you're on vacation, or if you live near a beach, take your camera along.  (any beach is fine--it doesn't have to be at the ocean... you can get beautiful shots with any body of water in the surroundings.)  

You can certainly just watch through your lens and stumble upon some good photos, or you can ask your subjects to stay close together and walk toward the water.  That almost always leads to a great shot.  Just ask them to walk slowly (your photos will be more likely to be in focus that way) and snap away.  Walking parallel to the water makes for a nice angle as well, but usually there are other people around and they will end up in the background.  All three of the pictures below were taken on busy beaches, but you'd think we were the only ones there.  

I hope the above suggestions help you capture some sweet moments and give you some photos that are frame-worthy!  You don't have to be an expert photographer with a trained eye (I'm certainly not!) to take great pictures... just shoot away and see what you get!

As you can probably tell, I do love to edit my photos.  I edit every single photo I take, even if it's just a tiny bit of cropping or some minimal light adjustment.  Stay tuned for a later post when I'll discuss that... I hope that will contain some information you'll find useful as well.  

What photo tips can you share?  

Until next time,

HH

 

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