5 Things Friday (ahem Saturday...)

So in Hawaii it's still 10:32. Therefore, this post is dedicated to those still on Hawaiian time. 

I have been up late the past several nights either editing photos, attending weddings, shooting rehearsals or designing lesson plan curriculum. And there's no end in sight! That's a good thing to me, anyway, because it means God is continually providing for us. So, I'm happy to take a break from wedding photo editing to post this week's Five Things Friday. In the spirit of taking pictures here are five things I always consider when doing any type of photography.


1. Compositon. I try not to always shoot my subject always head-on, as that angle has been done time and time again. Straight on shots are great... but only a couple of them. I will usually frame my subject off to the side if I can, or I'll try to play around with shooting from below where they're placed, above them, and to various sides of them, sometimes even having their face fill the entire screen (and then some). 

2. Background. I keep in mind what my background does for my subject. Can I do something really funky with that garbage can next to the person I'm shooting? What about those cars parked on the side of the road or those people walking in my shot? Sometimes I have to stop shooting altogether if someone walks behind, or even move whatever is going to be background noise or a distraction from my subject to make the picture that much better. Recently I was shooting in a very high traffic area, and people were constantly walking in the background. We were wasting time trying to let everyone pass, so instead of being on the busy walkway, we moved to an alley and actually got much better and more focused pictures! 

3. Sunlight. The summer months are absolutely perfect times for the best lighting possible - sunlight. However, depending on certain times of the day, the sunlight can quickly become your worst enemy. If at all possible I try to avoid taking pictures from 12 - 2 when the sun is the harshest, but if I absolutely can't get around it, I will either a) take pictures in a softer, shadier area, or b) use a reflector and have my subject stand at a 90 degree angle in relation to the sun. Sometimes this can cast side shadows, so having a reflector handy can be really beneficial. Post-6pm sunlight is my absolute favorite and so much can be done with it. It provides warmer, yellower tones instead of harsher greenish tones like the earlier light does, but there are pros and cons to everything. Learning how to effectively work with sunlight can be one of the best outdoor shooting tools. 

4. Even crop lines. When I'm framing my subject, I check to see where they are falling in relation to my lens and viewfinder. If they are looking tiny, I'll zoom in. If they're falling out of the box, I'll back up. I take the rule of thirds up a notch and either do headshots with a tight crop, mid-waist + head and a tight crop, or whole body + a tight crop. I can't tell you how many (kindhearted & considerate) people have given my camera back after taking a picture of T and I having either the tops of our heads cut off, our feet cut off, or framed the picture beginning at our kneecaps. Creating a tight crop for the picture and paying attention to the composition and framing will ensure a great focus. 

5. Look past the posing. Posed photos are great and controlled. A nice, neat little package that can sit on a mantle in a beautiful silver frame. However, part of the fun of photography is looking for those unexpected, candid shots that sometimes go along with the posed ones. I will usually take four or five pictures post-posing of couples, family members, etc., when they are "themselves," sometimes that's laughing, sometimes that's running, sometimes that's arguing... you name it. ;) But the beauty of photography is that it should capture the essence of who/what the subject is. Sometimes I'll snap a quick picture of a funny face, a water fight, a game of tag, monkey-bar swinging, laughing with friends, etc., in addition to the regular stand-smile-and-look-pretty shots. 


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