It never fails: you think you’ve set up the perfect shot. Your kids are clean and angelic-looking. Your husband is wearing a shirt with neither a beer logo nor stains. Your hair is not a giant ball of frizz and you put on a little mascara and lipstick. This photo is going to be absolutely perfect. Right?
You think this picture will be everything you were hoping it would be… and yet, when you see the photos, they are blurry, red eye has turned your angelic kids into devils, your flyaways make you look like Medusa, while the glare off your honey’s forehead could light the Eastern seaboard.
So what can you do to fix it? Several things, both on the front end and in post-production. Use these tips for perfect photos every time!
1. Read the camera manual
That book that came with your camera? It tells you a lot more than simply how to turn your new toy on and off. How to set the aperture, different settings, close-up shots (also known as macro), and more instructions all can be found in that manual. Your camera probably does a million things you had no idea it could do!
2. Use lighting to your advantage
Keep your light source in front of your subject; if it is behind you will get a silhouette. Keep the shiny foreheads at bay by filtering the light with a white scarf or sheet. If outdoors, have your subjects blot with rice paper (or toilet seat covers!), which will reduce the oil on their skin.
3. Red eye removal tools are your friend
Pretty much every type of photo software has this tool at your disposal (some may come with your camera, and other programs are available online) and most are incredibly easy to use. Red eye never has to ruin another otherwise perfect picture again!
4. Use post-production tools
Use a photo editing program to fix those distractions, like erasing the zit on your chin or the flyaway hairs around your head. The “clone stamp” tool in Photoshop is great for this, and quite simple to use. Other photo programs have similar tools. (“Smudge” is another handy option.)
5. Plan ahead
Low batteries can affect the quality of both film and digital photos. Keep your batteries fresh for optimal results. Consider investing in a backup battery so you have one fully-charged at all times, or look for a camera that runs on AA or AAA batteries so you can get a fresh set almost anywhere.