People are probably the most photographed subject.
Just think of it … new babies, high school graduations, weddings, travel and vacation pics, family reunions, Christmas newsletters and work. Pretty well everyday, I hear someone say “Oh I wish I had my camera. That would have be an amazing pic to have”. But as many people as would like to take photos, there are many more that shy away from trying because they think they will stink at it.
Well, I am here to tell you that with a little guidance and a little patience, you too, can take photos of people, just like the professionals.
Why not start now with my list of tips and pointers.
#1 – Photograph Someone You Know:
While it is never a good idea to take a random shot of a stranger (I talk about etiquette here), it is better to start with someone you are close to so that you have the rapport needed for a good pic. Being comfortable with your subject and knowing their emotions makes the process that much easier. Plus, you can bring out the mood you want when you know the person well. The other reason to work with a close friend or family member is that hopefully, they won’t criticize you too harshly, so your ego is not bruised and you stop your pursuit of better photography.
#2 – Black and White is Dramatic:
Indeed, it is a lot harder to shoot pics of people in black and white than color because you really need to pay attention to detail. But for that very same reason, you can learn to hone your skills. By starting out in black and white, you can become better at color photography. The classic example of how good black and white photography can look is weddings, photos of the guests and the unusual wedding entertainment ideas (such as Juggling Inferno) look amazing shot in this way.
#3 – Use the Camera’s Flash:
A lot of people starting out assume that the camera knows when to flash. And yes, it is true that it will flash when needed according to the specs from the manufacturer, but there is no law that says you must wait for it automatically. Try instead, to use the flash manually. You decide how you want the light to flow. Many professionals use the flash instead of a reflector.
#4 – Keep Talking:
Okay, you don’t have to talk incessantly, but keep the conversation going. This will help you in a couple ways. You won’t be so nervous taking the pics and your subject will feel less inhibited. You aren’t taking photos of marching soldiers. You want the subject at ease and natural, so the poses don’t appear staged.
#5 – Get Close to the Subject:
Unless you are creating a special idea you have, it is not necessary to tower over your subject. Try to look at eye level or get down lower so that camera embraces the subject. Decide whether the photo will be enough just from the waist up or if the motion of the legs is important enough to work into the shot.
Lastly, I get that a lot of people think they are photo-journalists today with all the social media sites and everyone carrying a cell (and don’t get me wrong, that’s fine), but if you really want to advance your hobby, ditch the phone and get a camera. It doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t have to be super huge quality. Just get yourself acquainted with a real camera.
This video might be an ad for Nikon, the camera icon, but it doesn’t really matter. The information is top-notch and I like it. Plus, the guy talks about the zoom and that is one piece of good advice.