Do You Shoot on "automatic"? How to Take a Fantastic Picture!

15 Apr

I’m really excited to introduce you to someone special!

My sister — Wenderful!  
I know I’ve talked about her a bunch on my blog. She is the person that got me blogging. She also is an amazing photographer. 
She even won the *I Heart Faces* Blogoversary contest! And she has spend YEARS studying photography. As someone who shoots on “automatic” most of the time, I thought it would be fun to have her come over and give us a few tips from a pro!
{she took this picture of my Hannah}
She also has an amazing “365” blog.  
I’ve been there.
You’ve been there.
You’ve finally rounded up the kids, wiped the remaining lunch off their faces, wrestled the swords from their grasp, bribed them into standing together without punching, pulling, or poking one another, and you swiftly flip on the camera and snap their picture before chaos ensues. Only to check the back of the camera to find something similar to this:

Look familiar?
This is what I call A Snapshot.  Unfortunately most of us have at least a handful of snapshots in our photo files.  Believe it or not, it only takes a little thought,  a few seconds of planning, and a touch of creativity to change a snapshot into a memorable portrait.  
In this series of posts, we’re going to dissect
The Anatomy of A Snapshot
I’m going to give you tips on how to take better pictures of your family.
There are six main ingredients that make up A Snapshot.
1.  Limb chops
2.  Cluttered background
3.  Distance from your subject
4.  Poor composition
5.  Fake smiles
6.  Poor exposure
Let’s start with limb chopping.  Fingers, toes, hands, feet, elbows, knees.  It’s a common offense among people with cameras.  It’s easy to do and you don’t notice it until you start clicking through your photos or files.
“That’s a great picture!  Awww, too bad little Johnny is missing his left hand. “
“What a sweet shot of Grandma!  Awww, too bad she has no feet.”
I’ve done it plenty of times.  Ruined a perfectly good shot by chopping vital body parts.
Take a look through your own photo files and take note of how many vital appendages are missing in your pictures.  Sometimes you’ll shoot close up and you won’t have enough room to include the entire limb.  In that case, avoid chopping at joints.  Shoot in a way that your chopping looks intentional.  A “planned chop”, if you will.
You get the idea.  Pay attention to those outer appendages and include them in your photos whenever possible.  It’s usually just a matter of being aware of what you’re  filling your frame with and recomposing a fraction of an inch.   It could mean the difference between A Snapshot and a Memorable Portrait.
Next week:  Cluttered backgrounds
Thanks Wenderful!
If you want some great picture ideas, check out her 365 blog!

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