Ezine Issue #003 – Family Photo Mistakes

Worth a Thousand Words, Issue #003 — Are YOU Making These Mistakes with Your Family Photos?
July 19, 2010

Family Photo Flubs

For this month’s photo tips, I thought I’d concentrate on family photos. Many of you will be taking vacations this summer, and grabbing your camera to capture the memories. Maybe I can help by highlighting some common mistakes to avoid!

Mistake #1: Shooting children from an adult’s eye-level. We each see the world from the perspective of our own eye-level, and so that’s how we are naturally inclined to photograph it. When you shoot a child from above, however, the feeling becomes imposing or domineering. Instead, crouch down to the child’s eye level, and you will have a shot that engages the viewer.

Mistake #2: Look at the camera and say “cheese!” Pictures where everyone is smiling at the camera have an artificial look to them. The moment is clearly staged, rather than spontaneous. The subjects are all aware of the photographer. Next time you’re shooting people, have them interact with each other instead. Make the camera an observer rather than a participant in the action. A shot of a parent looking into a child’s eyes, or a couple gazing lovingly at each other, is compelling because the viewer is drawn into the emotion of the natural interaction.

Mistake #3: Formal posing. There is a place for formal portraiture, to record a person or people at a particular stage in their lives. However, times are changing, and many people now prefer a more candid style of photography. Instead of formally posing your subjects, try catching them in their own environment. This has a couple of advantages. First, people are more comfortable “doing their thing” – be that cooking in the kitchen, digging in the garden, or running in a marathon – than posing for the camera. That means they will look natural in the picture, not stiff, awkward, or angry! Second, the picture you get will be a true reflection of the person’s character, representing them doing something they love. You will end up with pictures that give you true memories of your family being themselves.

3 More Photography Project Ideas

Looking for inspiration to get the creative juices flowing? Why not try one of these exercises?

  • A Collection of “Somethings.” Whenever you’re out, carry your camera, and be on the lookout for whatever “something” you choose. It could be feet, garbage cans, vegetables that look like faces, bicycles – you name it! Get creative, and pick a theme that you don’t usually see in pictures.
  • Pet’s Eye View. Pretend that you are your pet. How would you see the world if you were a dog? A hamster? Shoot a series images from the perspective of your pet’s eye level.
  • A Day in the Life of… This is a great project to document a particular occupation. For example, you could take photographs of a nurse at work to show all the various aspects of his or her job. It may take you more than one day of shooting to capture a representative set of images.

Share Your Photography Project Ideas

If you have any photography project ideas , please share them with the Ultimate Photo Tips Community!

Too Cool Not to Share!

Wee Planets

Here’s a photo set on Flickr that’s truly unique, and well worth a few minutes of your time. From the description on that site: “All these pictures are 360°x180° panoramas projected to look like small planets using a projection called stereographic projection.” These are fascinating images that defy description, so go and take a peek!

What’s New this Month at Ultimate Photo Tips

Check Out Our New Look!

The Ultimate Photo Tips website has had a spiffy makeover, with a shiny new header!

Brand New Content!

There’s a whole new section waiting for you, packed with photography ideas Here you’ll find photography ideas to get your creative juices flowing. From interviews with experts, to descriptions of photography project ideas, to photography contests, you’ll find resources to stimulate your photographic creativity.

Photo Challenges

June’s photo challenge results are in! The topic was “The Letter D.” Check out the winning image which is a beautifully-lit shot of desert dunes in South Africa.As promised, July’s challenge is “After Dark.” We’re looking for images taken after the sun goes down. I invite you to participate ! So far, we have entries covering everything from the moon, to fireworks to a burning boat! Submit yours now. We’re also delighted to see some return entrants from last month – welcome back! See what images other people are submitting, and vote for your favorite.

Photo News

Check out the Photo News section for up to the minute photography news as gathered by Google from more than 4000 news resources from around the world. You can even post events going on in your corner of the world.

What Do You Want to Learn About?

New content is being added to the site all the time. What do you want to read about? The next planned sections include the topics of creativity, digital printing, family photo tips, and cool bits of gear. We’d love to hear your thoughts on these topics, and any other suggestions you may have. Please contact us with your feedback.Happy shooting from Ultimate Photo Tips!