Interviewing Experts: Tips for Better Photos
I’m Lucky to Know Such Cool People!!
Remember in my first post when I mentioned that I wanted to celebrate women I know. I’ll be honest, I’m going to use this blog as an excuse to go out to lunch with people to try to figure out how and why they are so amazing. There are so many people I know who just seem to be killing it at life, they are experts in some area, or they are just plain cool. Since I am interviewing Registered Dietitians, I decided that I should interview other people too.
Solving Instagram Envy
I’m going to start with my friend, Meredith, our daughters dance together. For two years, I have been super impressed with the way she manages her family. She has four kids who are all involved in lots of activities. She is a family and lifestyle photographer and her Instagram feed features her adorable, photogenic family on fun adventures.
I’m in awe of people who capture genuine smiles. Despite my best efforts, I never seem to capture the true personality of my kids in photographs. My daughter always looks like she is smelling something disgusting. My son never looks at the camera. Recently, I photographed my three kids for a grandma’s gift. The photo session devolved into me crying and yelling, “Will you please smile!?!?!” Needless to say, I doubt that my meltdown helped get good smiles from my big kids. I’m sentimental and cherish old pictures (thanks Timehop and Facebook Memories!). When I am 80, I want to remember how amazing I felt seeing my son’s goofy, up-to-no-good grin and how beautiful my daughter is when she laughs.
Meredith‘s kids’ photos are always on point (also, she took our family photos, so I know how good she is!). I decided she should be my first expert interview. I need to know her secret! Do I need to always use my DSLR camera (which I never have with me)? Is it possible for me to get a photo where P looks at the lens and A doesn’t smile like the Grinch?
Five Tips for Taking Better Photos from Meredith
There is good news for those of us who only ever have our phones with us to document childhood. Most of Meredith’s Instagram photos are taken with her iPhone. Here are her top five tips for taking better photographs!
- Less is more! Go for simple backgrounds, choose a blank wall or bush. Make sure to declutter the area where you will be photographing.
- Go outside! Natural light is best. If you need to be inside, turn off all artificial light and set up next to a window.
- Keep the light behind the photographer. It helps avoid harsh shadows. Good times to photograph include early morning and late afternoon.
- Capture emotion! Pictures are much more interesting if your aren’t demanding kids stare at the camera and say cheese. To get genuine smiles from your family, tell jokes, ask them to make silly faces, have them look at each other. Have fun so that your photos reflect that too.
- Don’t Zoom! Walk toward your subject if you need a closer shot. Zooming your camera cuts down on the quality of your image.
Practice Makes Perfect!
Since I’m living with a three month-old baby, I have many opportunities to incorporate these tips into my photographs. Practicing getting better shots will be fun. Remembering that my Instagram feed doesn’t need to be full of perfect shots takes off the internal pressure too.
I also want to share a few bonus tips that Meredith and I discussed about family photo sessions. Meredith did our family photo session after Baby C was born. Maybe you are like me and put off family photos because the thought of finding outfits is overwhelming.
BONUS TIPS: Picking Outfits for Family Photo Sessions
- Pick one person’s outfit first, use those colors and pick other family members’ outfits from those.
- YES! – colors and fun patterns
- NO! – logos, neon colors, monochromatic color on everyone
I hope that all of you can use these tips to spruce up your family memories! Look, I’ve been practicing, but I need a blank wall in my house!