Don’t you hate it when you’re out with your friends, and the delegated ‘photographer’ ends up sharing the most awkward photos with the group, showing a view of your side profile you didn’t even know existed? Meanwhile, one of the girls was cut in half, and another has a waiter looking over her shoulder. We can’t always have professional photographers on-hand, but there are a few tricks of the trade to remember, whether you’re doing candid shots on your iPhone of a girls’ night out or capturing professional family portraits. Here are a 4 things to avoid when photographing people:
Most people would prefer that the photographer not take pictures of the insides of their noses or give viewers a peek up their skirts. Don’t get so carried away in finding interesting angles that you end up portraying your subjects in a poor light. Aim to put them in the best position possible—they’d rather have a flattering photo than one that appeals to the photographer’s artsy mood.
Check your surroundings before snapping the shot. What will viewers see in the background (such as a fountain coming out of someone’s head)? Keep this in mind especially for outdoor shoots. Make sure hikers aren’t unknowingly photobombing the session, animals aren’t traipsing across the background (unless it’s rare wildlife, that’s pretty cool), and branches aren’t sticking out of torsos. I love using leaves during fall sessions, but I have to time it just right so a falling leaf doesn’t come out looking like an eye patch on the baby.
Remember that candid photography does not just mean randomly snapping photos of people in the moment. Take care to time candid photos just right so that you aren’t snapping a photo of someone with their mouth awkwardly open or their eyes half-closed. There really is an art to spontaneous shots.
Make sure the sun isn’t turning someone’s head into a glowing orb or that you aren’t casting shadows across your subjects. If you’re unsure about lighting, try to keep your light source broad and distant for softer photos. Soft, front lighting is usually a safe way to go for those just starting out. If outside, take advantage of the trees and clouds to diffuse the harsh sunrays a little.
Of course, there’s far more to photographing people, so if you’re interested in learning more, please don’t hesitate to reach out! I’d love to hear from you!