Photography is the art of capturing something fleeting; holding that which cannot be held; moments made still. Good photographs are hardly about the technical side of photography. The technicalities are secondary when it comes to taking good photos, because you aren’t just taking photos–you are capturing life!
Your main goal is to be on the lookout for capturing moments. Anyone can take photos, but if you miss the moment, you missed the good photograph.
Of course, you should learn how to use your tool (camera) to the best of your ability to enable you to capture those moments. Take the time to research the equipment necessary to match your abilities and goals you have in mind for your photography. Pinpointing your goals helps you to pinpoint your equipment. After you get your tool, learn how to use it. Trial and error and observation have been my best teachers.
After that, forget the technicalities, for your camera should become your right arm, and running it should hardly take a second thought. You need to be able to give your full attention to your surroundings: the people, the lighting, the fleeting moments. These are the things that put worth, meaning, soul and 1,000 words into your photographs.
Take a lot of photos. You are not going to go broke on film, and life happens so fast! Don’t feel bad if you only have one gem in 200. You’ve captured the gem, right? Forget the 199 failures!
When you are photographing your family, make sure you make it as pleasant as you can for them! This impacts results more than you realize. Take care of the way you act. If you feel confident, your subject will feel confident. If you feel insecure, they will begin to feel it too. Usually, how they feel is how they will look. If they feel great, they look great! Most people feel uncomfortable and never ready enough to have their portrait taken. Change that! Make them comfortable and tell them how wonderful they really do look!
Interact with your family. Try to capture their REACTIONS- not just their actions. The difference is incredible. Don’t stop shooting as soon as they’re “done” posing. Some of the best shots come AFTER the “pose.” Enjoy the time together and it will show in the photos!
Avoid direct sunlight on people’s faces. This is a simple tip that makes a huge difference. When harsh sunlight is on someone’s face, it creates unwanted shadows (can’t see eyes) & overexposure (bright noses). This doesn’t mean you always have to find shade, just position your subject or your angle in a way that gets rid of the direct sunlight. I love the looks of the sun behind people! Some of my favorite portraits are backlit.
With that said, I wanted to emphasize that it’s so important to be able to see someone’s eyes in a photo. Eyes are the window to the soul and they can say so much- even in photographs. Do whatever it takes to make sure you can see a person’s eyes! In addition to avoiding direct sunlight, you can slightly overexpose the image (you can do this with the camera’s manual setting), use reflectors, or as a last resort, pull out a flash.
Don’t be afraid to pose or re-create a scene. Remember that you are telling a story with your photos. I’ve always said, “I only shoot candidly and never pose anything,” until a friend pointed out to me that I actually AM always posing scenes. She was right! I realized that I would picture a scene in my mind and would pose things to create the scene, but at the same time, I strived to keep the candid feel in the image. So, in reality, it was posed, but in the photo it looked candid. If someone did something that I missed, I would ask, “Hey! Can you do that again for me?” Furthermore, if there was a nicer location or better lighting elsewhere, I’d move them to the spot! Good locations and lighting can change the whole feel of a photograph and help tell the story!
When all is said and done, your photography will reflect your perspective on life. Take a look at your heart. Whatever is in your heart will show in your work.
Ask the Lord to give you a deep appreciation for life and your family, to enjoy the little things, find the beauty in your surroundings, bring out the best in those around you, and go outside of your comfort zone! These things please and glorify God.
Recording your family’s life with good photographs is one of the most rewarding things you can do! It’s capturing something fleeting; holding that which cannot be held; moments made still.
Kamirin Couch is a twenty-one-year-old, daughter, sister, aunt and homeschool graduate who has learned to actively and productively live life right where God has her- whether she’s photographing weddings, painting with watercolors, playing music, or commercial fishing with her family. She never wants to stop learning and encouraging other single women to live each day to the fullest and embrace the beauty that life is now!
“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God…” Psalm 46:4
To learn more visit www.crookedstreamphotography.blogspot.com or write to Kamirin at firstname.lastname@example.org.