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I do not call myself a photographer and don’t think I would ever presume to do so. I own a camera, I like taking pictures. It is part of my job but has also become a daily habit of my life. You could call it a hobby of sorts and I have certain subjects I enjoy photographing. As I said, I would never call myself a photographer BUT I have picked up a number of tips and tricks over the last 5 years of having my camera and taking pictures. From pictures of mountain sunsets to pictures of your children you can take wonderful photos be it on a camera or on your phone. I do a mixture of both and so I thought I would share what I have learnt about being a “photographer.”
As I said, I am not a photographer by any means, but people do like my photos and there are some, albeit a few, that even I myself cannot deny being proud of (if you want to see the check out my Gallery!) So what is it that I have learnt over the last 5 years that has helped me learn how to photograph much more professionally that I did originally.
First of all, patience. It might seem like a crazy thing but you definitely need patience, particularly when your subjects are able to move and have free will. The focus of the majority of my photos has always been Alyssa and that has been frustrating at times. I used to shoot in rapid picture mode where you take 50 pictures in 10 seconds and maybe 1 of them would be good.
Needless to say I don’t do that now, or very rarely anyway. Now I tend to sit and wait and watch her. Which brings me to another and probably my most important tip when it comes to photographing children, particularly when they get older. Other than about 3 times when I have said, Alyssa can you just hold this toy and smile for me, I have never asked her to pose. 99.9% of my shots are completely candid and they are always the best ones because they are so natural.
I will get her engaged in an activity and then step back and watch her through my camera and wait for “that” moment. Or perhaps I will talk to her or ask her to describe whats around her. She is used to me having a camera in my hands so it is not unusual to her and thanks to this work/hobby I have probably a lot more memories of times together than I would have had, had I not chosen the career change I did.
Obviously light is important. Find your light and use it to your advantage. Don’t shoot into it and get white blow outs. Look for shadows and whether they will harm or enhance the images you are taking.
Another important thing is the angle at which you take a picture. Try lots of them! Try from above, try from down low where you are in line with your subject or try from below where you are looking up. It is incredible how much the angle of a photograph can change the subject – think about when you take a selfie and how you move the camera around to find the best angle… it is the same thing!
Finally, it took me a while to do, but I now do not post any photos on my work Instagram that I have no edited. Sad but true. Unless it is a blurred or cut off picture, I do keep every picture I take because for memories sake, I do not need perfect pictures. However, if you are looking to have a professional, clean look or to create appealing photos, then do consider using something like Lightroom to edit and enhance your images – there are some great Youtube tutorials on how to change and edit photos.