Just Shoot

When an out-of-town client has an event, we often ask them for photos to use for various reasons. Our team even developed a tip sheet to make sure we get photographs we can use for the client’s benefit.

Some tips are a little more well-known than others – hold the shutter button down half way to focus before taking a photo; whenever possible use a camera, not a smartphone and use a flash indoors.

Others aren’t ones you’d likely pull off the top of your head. When in doubt, hire a professional photographer, but in the meantime, some of these tips will help get you the shots you want – personally or professionally. 

  1. Leave the professional headshots to the professionals. If you scroll around LinkedIn long enough, you will see there are many professionals out there using selfies, blurry or vacation photos and the in-the-bathroom-mirror shot as their profile photo. That’s fine for Twitter or Facebook, but in a professional setting, it’s best to invest in a professional headshot. As an adult, you don’t change as much as you did from year to year in your school photos, so you don’t have to update them all that often. Many photographers will do headshots for around $100-200, which is an investment worth the money — especially if your future employers can tell you details about your shower curtain.
  2. Know your device. It’s pretty easy when you get a new camera or phone to just pick it up and start snapping away. Your photos will be 10 times better if you take a few minutes to look up some tips for using your device. A quick Google search will usually provide a list of tips or a video that will show you how to use your device. Last year, when Apple released an update for the iPhone, there were significant changes to the camera, so even if you know your device already, get to know the updates when they are released. It’ll make everything brighter and more in focus.
  3. Follow the laughter.  When people talk, their faces contort. It happens so quickly, our eyes never really capture it, but when a camera freezes that second of time, it can be pretty unflattering. If you follow the laughter at any event, you’ll find people smiling. Wait that extra second for the smile or laughter to occur to take your photo and you’ll reduce the risk of an unflattering photo.
  4. Don’t move.  This seems like a simple suggestion, but many times blur is caused when the camera operator moves while focusing the shutter. Stand still. Hold your breath for a few seconds, if necessary. And don’t move until after you’ve taken the photo.
  5. Don’t be afraid to zoom.  Give yourself a few options when framing a photo in your viewfinder, but don’t be afraid to use the zoom and fill the frame.
  6. Digital = no limits Since most people don’t use film, you are only limited by the size of your memory card, so don’t be afraid to take multiple shots to make sure you get what you want. Fill the frame. Zoom out. Put your subject in the center, then to the right and then to the left of the frame. You can choose the one you like the best later.
  7. Middle-of-the-day blues. If you’re taking photos outside, the middle of the day is the worst. It’s the time of day when the light is the most flat and lacking definition. It’s also hard to escape, so people and pets squint, and no one really enjoys a squinty photo. For the best lighting, earlier in the morning or in the couple hours before sundown are ideal for good outside photos.
  8. Cloudy days and shade are your best friends. Clouds are nature’s filter. With direct sunlight you run the risk of people squinting or becoming backlit. When it’s cloudy – or when you are in solid, not spotty, shade – you still have the benefit of being outside while at the same time using light that’s even and not harsh.
  9. Flashes aren’t just for dark places. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your device’s flash even when you’re in bright daylight. Depending on the sun’s position, it can still create shadows on your subject’s face. The flash can give you the little bit of extra light you need, right where you need it.
  10. It’s all about perspective. Shoot from above. Shoot from below. Try different angles. If your subject is taller than you, raise the device above your head and aim down at your subject, which will keep them from looking down at you (an unflattering look even if you’re Chris Hemsworth). Or, ask them to sit down and slightly look up at you. With pets and kids, get down on the floor with them and take their photo at their eye level. Trying multiple angles will only let you know what will work better next time and give you multiple choices later.

Click here to download a photography tip sheet.

 Tiffannie Bond is a media relations specialist and company photographer at Imagine Communications. Click here to email Tiffannie..

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