When to take a picture…

So a question I got a week ago centered around how do you know when you should take the picture.  Truth of the matter is that you don’t.  A lot of times the moments are very fast and fleeting, but being a professional photographer for many years, has taught me one thing, patience.  When I started taking pictures it was on film and it cost a fair amount of cash to develop your photos.  You also never knew if you got it right when you took the photo.  I would double check my settings, make sure my asa (ISO) was correct and hope that I depressed the shutter at just the right moment.

Today digital is the only way to go.  It is fast and convenient and is fairly inexpensive.  So why not take 40 or 50 photos to make sure you get the right one.  That is for sure one approach.  I subscribe to the school of thought that you should do as much work in the camera as possible, the minute you have to fix something in your photo editing software it sucks away precious hours of shooting time.  One of the most important things is to not look at your LCD of the shot after every picture.  Frequently you will miss the great one if you are looking at the back of your camera.

Let me give you a few tips I use when taking pictures.

Kids: Kids hate to sit still, if you want good photos of kids, don’t make them sit still.  Let them interact with the environment.  Let them take a picture or two of you, get them involved in the process of making a photograph and they will cooperate more.  I also am sly, I try to take pictures far away from them using a long lens.  Stay back and let them play, then capture the joy on their faces in those moments, that is when to take the picture.

Friends and Family:  Friends and family seem to be camera shy, but there are things you can do to get good pictures still.  First don’t take photos straight on, seldom is a straight on photo flattering.  Get their good side and don’t let them know you are taking their picture.  Stand off to the side with your camera and just watch.  Watch the interactions between them and others.  Pay attention to their facial expressions, look for the laugh or smirk that really speaks to who they are.  Get the camera down low or up high, this should lessen red eye and create a more pleasing photo.

Pets: Pets can be a lot of fun to photograph.  They can also be a lot of work.  If you can get down on their level you can get better shots, but the moment you do you are likely to get your camera licked.  This is normal don’t worry about it.  Again with dogs patience is the key.  Get them while they are sleeping or right after they have eaten.

Places: Places can be fun to photograph.  Take your time while shooting in a new location, if you see a bunch of people taking a picture or of a vista, don’t take the picture from the same place.  Remember you are making a photograph, a work of art.  If it is just a snapshot then click away and don’t worry too much about it.  If you want a photograph look around for a different perspective.  Often I find that I can appreciate a place or location even more.

I hope that helps with your photography and your holiday photos.  Move around remember that you are not the tripod, look at different angles and views.  Enjoy your holidays.  Let me know if there are any other questions I can answer.