When it comes to photography, there are a few ways to ensure that your photos are scrapbook-ready! There are times when a staged photo requires the right backdrop and perfect lighting, and then there are times when it seems the best photos are those that were caught in the moment and not pre-planned – either way, you can still achieve great photos by following these basic tips.
Choosing the right backdrop:
Try to avoid clutter – choose locations, whether indoors or outdoors, that have a few simple objects in them to ensure that your main subject is the focal point. For instance, if you’re taking a photo of your child at the playground, be sure to get close up and attempt to include those objects that add color to your composition. This would be better than getting a lot of playground equipment and other children in the photo.
Synthetic vs. Outdoor lighting:
Outdoor lighting is the easiest to achieve a natural look to your photos. However, there are many photo opportunities that occur indoors, and therefore it’s necessary to learn just how to work with your flash. For instance, many camera’s have a flash that best accommodates a 10 foot range – which means if you get further than 10 feet from your subject, your photo will be dark and possibly blurry, and if you’re closer than 10 feet, than your subject could become a white-out. It’s best to experiment with your flash settings to understand what your range is. Also, for those photos that are taken indoors while the sun is still out, try and sit your subject in front of a window facing the natural light to get the best results.
As you take your pictures, try and have your subject’s color scheme complement the background colors. For instance, if you know you’re going to a little girl’s birthday party, chances are you can expect a lot of pink or purple – try dressing your child in a complimentary color such as blue or yellow. Or if you and your spouse will be going on a beach vacation – bring lots of white clothing!
Any design standards that involve having your subject perfectly centered and symmetric do not apply when talking about photography. In fact, it’s best to have your main focal point off-centered to create visual interest and better balance.
Black & White vs. Color:
The all-too-popular dilemma…does this look better in black and white, or in color? The best approach for a beginner would be to take all of your photos in color, and then using a basic computer photo program, change the photo setting to black and white to test and see whether it converts nicely. When shooting in color with the anticipation of converting to black and white, yellows and oranges create the whitest whites when viewed as black and whites or sepia tone formats.