Taking Better Pictures – Part 2 ~ San Antonio Photographer

Last time we talked about Sunny Day pictures…if you missed that post go back and check it out…

Today we are going to talk about getting up close and personal with your subjects…

Too many times I see photos of people that were taken so far back the person taking the photo probably had to use a mega phone to tell the subject to smile. The subject is so stinkin’ small that I feel compelled to get out my magnifying glass just to verify who I think is in the picture. Not good. If your picture turns into a Where’s Waldo adventure, then you have issues.

My suspicion is that this phenomena comes from a fear of intimacy…I mean fear of limb chopping among other things. You don’t want to chop off feet or legs. You feel like you have to get the entire person in the frame…all the time. I bet some of you think that getting an obscene amount of the background in the image is the route to a prize-worthy photo. Well, you thought wrong!! !!! Sorry, that has harsh…let me rephrase…you tried super duper hard with the best of intentions but you were just a teensy weensy bit mistaken. Better?

Moving on….

Have you noticed that your photos with the subject farther away are just not very sharp? They seem fuzzy? Well, your camera looks for a focal point. A what point? Focal point: the red square that comes up on your LCD. You just thought that was there to obstruct your view and annoy you, didn’t you? No, it has a purpose. The camera’s focal point is looking for something to hang on to for dear life. It wants to find something to focus on to give you a sharp picture. Make sense? When your subject is far away, the camera doesn’t have anything definitive to hold onto…everything begins to run together from the camera’s viewpoint…it looks for something and thinks it has it, but you find out later it didn’t have a firm grasp and now your insanely awesome photo…sucks. It happens to the best of us…

Do your camera a favor and find it something to hang onto…move your subject a little closer and then take your shot. If you can move your focal point (again, the red box), I would place it over the subjects face. After all, that is what you want to be sharp right?

Now, let’s talk about limb chop…don’t be afraid of cutting off limbs. Here is the rule of thumb on this issue: Don’t cut off limbs at joints…ankles, knees, wrists, fingers, elbows, etc. Got it? Good. Enough said.

And what about the background? Well, riddle me this Batman: What is the subject of your picture? Is it the scenery? Is it your child? Is it a combination of both? Give this a second of thought before you snap the picture.  If you are at the Grand Canyon and want to take a picture of your kids, then by all means include more of the background with the kids. It is the Grand Canyon…seems pretty amazing and in this situation, you have 2 subjects…the kids and the hole in the ground. If you are taking a picture of you adoring toddler inside your house that looks like a preschool blew up in it, then consider minimizing the background and getting up close on your toddler….SHE is the focus of the picture…not the shrapnel from the explosion.

I want you to do a little experiment and have someone stand at different lengths from you as you take pictures. I bet you notice that your images get sharper as your subject gets closer. I took the challenge and used Zach as my guinea pig…

photo of child at various distances in san antonio

Next time we are going to tackle blurry images….

Before you go…if you don’t want to miss any of my pearls of wisdom, then click on the little envelope below or scroll down and click on “subscribe” if you are reading this on your smartphone and subscribe to my blog…these blog posts will show up in your inbox a couple of times a week. Don’t sweat getting spam…I don’t eat or sell the stuff so you are safe…

by Melissa Lloyd

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