One of the main goals of my photographic journey has been to take better pictures of my everyday life, in particular of my son. Time goes so fast. Crawling, walking, talking, going to school, playing with friends, there is always something worth documenting.
Let me help you capture all the simple, yet beautiful, moments of your everyday life by sharing with you some simple tips that will help you in creating gorgeous pictures.
1. Be a quiet witness
It is tempting to ask our children to look at us and smile when we take their picture. We have all been there, asking them to say "cheese". The truth is, too much orchestration doesn't produce candid moments. If you can, try to take some pictures of your children doing whatever they are doing in that moment (eating, playing, running, singing, jumping, etc.) without asking them to look at the camera. You will love how candid these shots are. You will look at them as a true reflection of your everyday life.
2. Capture the details
Aren't details the most difficult things to remember? When looking at the scene you are about to photograph, pause for an instant and look more closely. Are there any details that you would like to capture?
3. Change your perspective
When taking pictures, we naturally try to shoot from a single standpoint. Experiment. See what happens when you choose a different angle. You can get very low and take a shot from your children's eye level. You can go even lower and take a shot from below. You can try one from above. You can step back and capture a lot of the surroundings or get very close and only frame your subject. The possibilities are endless.
4. Turn off your flash and look for natural light
As much as you can, try to turn off your flash and the lights. Look for natural light. With some practice, you will realize that it drapes your subject in different ways. Depending on how much light you are working with and where your subject stands you will get different results.
5. Avoid the clutter
It is important to keep in mind that everything you decide to include in the frame should serve a purpose. If you feel that the objects surrounding your children aren't going to add anything to your picture, take a minute to get them out of the frame.
6. Embrace the clutter
At other times, however, you will want to include the clutter, because it illustrates the story you are telling.
7. Use framing
Look around for existing framing elements. They can help you create a visually interesting shot. You can use walls, windows, doors or any other type of line to frame your subject.
8. Get in the frame
This is so important. Think how disappointed your children will be if you are always the one behind the camera and never appear in the photos. If there isn't anybody to help you take the shot, you can easily set your phone or camera on a timer. This takes a little bit of practice but it is really worth it!
- Put your camera on something sturdy (a piece of furniture, a stack of books, etc.). If you have a tripod, it is even better and you are all set!
-Look through the viewfinder to manually adjust the focus. I usually put an object where I will be standing or I use my son if he is in the right place to achieve focus. If you are using a smartphone, tap on the screen where you would like the focus to be.
- Set a timer. Most cameras and phones have a timer. Set it to 10 seconds so you have enough time to get back to your position. I recommend selecting the "continuous shooting" option as well so your camera takes more than one image. You can usually find that setting in the same menu as the one where you set the timer.
The best option is to have a remote control so you can set your camera, adjust the focus and remotely trigger it while you are already in place. They are really quite affordable.
9. Have your camera/phone ready wherever you go
I found that some of my favorite images where taken in random places, such as a grocery store, a bank or a doctor's office. I got in the habit of taking my camera with me wherever I go.
10. Start a 30-day or 365-day challenge
If you are interested in documenting your life on a regular basis, this is an amazing way to do it. You can read more about starting a 365-day challenge here.
If a year long commitment seems too big of a task, you also have the option of a shorter challenge. Read more about the O'Clock Project 2016 here.
Please don't hesitate to leave a comment! I would love to hear from you! I live in Park Slope, Brooklyn and always enjoy a get together for coffee.