Posts with tag: "#portraits"
Thursday, February 08, 2018
By Alissa Williams
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5 Tips to Make Better Pictures!


5 Easy Tips for Taking Better Pictures!
In the last 10 years, cell phones have become the number-one tool for many things such as: our calls, texting, social media, banking, flashlight, map, shopping tool—no matter what you need, "there’s an app for that!" But beyond all those things I’d say our phones have also become our number-one resource for everything photography. During this past decade we went from needing to spend thousands on expensive photography equipment to literally only needing our smart phone. In the palm of our hand lies the key to capturing anything we want to photograph!
With that being said, just because you can take a picture of “everything” every way doesn’t mean you should. This is especially when creating these images for social media purposes. Have you ever had a vision in your mind of what you think something will look like, only to ask “What the…?” after taking the picture? Well, to be honest, that is what inspired me to be a photographer.
One day my then 3-year-old little baby (who is now 21), had dressed up in a cute, little snow-white dress. I had put some lipstick on her and we were going to have a "photo shoot." Armed with my "expensive" point-and-shoot camera, I loaded the film and began snapping away. I was so excited, certain that FOR SURE these were going to be the cutest pictures ever! I used the 24 exposures I had, quickly put my daughter back in the car to drop off the film at the local drug store, and the 3 day wait began!...
On that long awaited 3rd day I got the film back and eagerly ripped open the package. WHAT WAS I SEEING?!!! This was notwhat I had so perfectly envisioned in my head. Instead, I noticed a huge green frog in my background, hard direct flash, and a closet. There was NO attention to detail, and I could hardly focus on my beautiful child for the distractions in the photo.
Thankfully, I’ve learned so much since those days, and want to share some insight on how to take better photos with just the camera you have available. This has little to do with the quality of your camera, so you can use a smart phone, a tablet, a regular camera, whatever you have to use. If you follow these 5 basic tips, your photos will be WAY better than they were before!
#1  Why the B-L-U-R?
There are several reasons for having blurry photos, but the number one reason are finger prints—yes, touching the lens!
We all do it, we accidentally touch the lens with greasy fingers and smudge it, so check your lens for smudges first before you begin taking all those photos. There is a real simple way of fixing it should that be the case by taking your SMOOTH shirt or a very smooth cloth and wiping it off. I guarantee this alone will clear the blurring, help with any fogging you see, and brighten up your photos!
#2 Lighting
The second easiest way to make better pictures is by choosing WHERE you take them. You would not believe how many people ask me, "Why is my background dark?" only for me to look at the photo and quickly realize it was taken in a dark room or outside at night! The faces look like floating heads from where the flash only illuminated what was directly in front of the flash. 
Y'all, if you are not photographing with professional lighting, your flash on your camera (or phone for that matter) is only going to illuminate what is directly in front of it for short distances! I chuckle a bit when I’m at a concert and see a ton of people in the stands taking photos and all their flashes are going nuts. When they get the images home they have great shots of the back of peoples’ heads.
Your photographs will only be as good as the lighting you are using. If you’re taking pictures under tungsten lighting, for instance, your images will be orange; if you are taking photos under fluorescent lights, your images will have a greenish blue tinge; if you are photographing in a dark room, your photos will be, well, dark. I’ve found that for the highest quality photos when using a cell phone, it’s best to use all natural light, and preferably window light because of its nice direction. But remember, you (or your subject) must be facing the light; the more backlit the subject, the darker the face will be. 
#3 Perspective
This concept is simple: If you want to look smaller (or for us women, skinnier), put the camera at a higher angle.
If you want to look bigger (or for a lot of men, more masculine) put the camera at a lower angle.
#4 Distance
When taking pictures, a lot of people don’t want to move even when it’s necessary. They will stay in one place and zoom all the way into the subject matter. But without the right equipment, this only lowers the quality of your photo, making it look grainy and blurry most of the time. There are some technical reasons for this, but am not going to get into that here. For your purposes in getting better image quality with your smart phone and other mobile devices, just try not to zoom in too much; rather, move closer to your subject if you need to. If you don’t, understand you could be sacrificing image quality. 
 #5 Pay Attention to the Background!
Alright! Now that you’ve cleaned off your lens, paid attention to lighting, perspective, and walked close to the subject matter instead of zooming in, DON’T cheat the photograph quality on this last thing: Pay attention to the background!
Have you ever seen photos online where you have this beautiful girl taking a selfie in the bathroom, and in the background you see some things you really wish you hadn’t?! DON’T do this to yourself! It literally takes a few seconds to scan the background of your photo before taking it! Look for trash, old buildings, stray animals (or stray people, even). Remember, if it has nothing to do with the subject you’re photographing, remove it (if you can). There are also ways to reposition your subject so weird objects or people are hidden by the subject themselves. 
Of course there are so many more things you can do, but these are basic, super-easy ways you can improve your photography just by changing things you are doing apart from the type of camera you have available!
Obviously, if you ever need professional portraiture, I’m your girl!!!
Happy picture taking, and may you be blessed!