tip #2 - Before you take a picture think about why you are taking it.
Seems simple enough. But there might be a little more to this idea than you realize. A simple shift in the way you approach your photos can change the way you see through the view finder.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to figure out what's your intent before you shoot the first frame.
- What's the story you are trying to capture?
- Can you clearly see it from where you are standing? If you can't, move around, get closer or father away.
- Would someone who wasn't there when you shot the picture be able to "read" the story by looking at your photo? Think about including important details within the frame. Also think about if you are including too much within the frame. Be as specific as possible.
- Do you really want to interrupt the action by asking your subject to smile? Or would it be a better choice to just take a photo of what they are doing without interrupting the action?
- Is there an unexpected reaction you may capture by taking multiple photos? This is specially true with kids, who can be unpredictable in a wonderful, magical way.
Hopefully those 5 questions/action items are a good guide for you, but to make this a little more tangible, let's look at an example.
A little background. My youngest daughter LOVES bubbles, most kids do. But she loves blowing bubbles more than popping them. So, that's the story here.
As you can see, I took at least 7 photos before I arrived to my favorite one.
On the top left corner, you can see the wheel of a car in the background, since it doesn't add to the story and it's kind of distracting, it's not my favorite.
The next one is ok, but I think I was maybe too close (but I do like that one as well).
On the first photo on the second row, I was too far.
Don't like her expression on the middle one and there's no bubble on the third one.
The last two are my favorites, but out of the two I picked the very last one. Let's look at why.
- This photo tells exactly the story I want to tell with...a twist. Without really intending to, I was able to capture the moment when my daughter discovered that she didn't need to blow the bubble herself, because the wind would do that for her! I really love her expression here.
- I moved around her, shot from far away and got closer until I finally found the angle I wanted.
- You might or might not be able to tell where she is (the beach), but you can definitely see that it's windy. That's enough environmental detail for me here ;)
- I just waited for the moment to happen, didn't call out her name so I wouldn't distract her, or break her from the action. I just kept my camera up to my face and watched her play and kept shooting as interesting things were happening.
- I definitely shot more than one frame when I realized what was happening. If you look at the photos above, you can see two frames that are very similar, yet, the bubble is slightly bigger and you can see it stretch on the one I ended up choosing.
So there you have it! I encourage you to think about the story before you shoot. I know you'll be happy with the results.
Happy shooting :)