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Family photos 101

While any snapshot of your kids and family will be a lasting memento, some photos are just better than others. Here’s a guide to taking fabulous photos of the ones you love.

Be snap-happy

Even a professional photographer is not immune to the odd bad shot, so take full advantage of your digital camera by taking lots of photos, as this will help increase the odds of having a few great shots you’ll enjoy for a lifetime. Never delete pictures from your memory card simply because of what you see in the camera preview, as you may have a hidden gem that just needs a little editing to be perfect.

Zoom in

Whether you’re taking posed family photos or spontaneous shots of everyday life, remember what your focus is, and make sure to zoom in. It’s common practice to take a wide camera shot that encompasses the background as well as the subject, but, as an example, would you rather have a photograph of half a field of miscellaneous soccer players, or a close-up shot of your son or daughter’s facial expression when they make the game-winning goal? So zoom in and get in close for great pictures of those you love.

Watch the lighting

Tired of the squinting and shadows in your outdoor shots? Be wary of natural light, as direct sun will cause both. Keep the sun off to the side, shelter your subjects with the use of trees, buildings, etc., and use your manual flash — even during daylight hours — to help offset shadows. In low light, be sure to use the flash, and turn on as many lights as possible to ensure your subjects are lit up and in focus.

Take a step back

Take yourself out of the action to capture fun, impromptu photos of your family. Some of the more interesting real-life photos will happen when everyone forgets the camera is there.

Do a quick check

A final quick check through the viewfinder will help ensure a great pictorial record of your family.

  • Watch for composition. Is the photo centred? Is the focus on the subject matter? Does the photo have balance?
  • What is your family doing? Is anyone blinking? Talking? Looking elsewhere during a family photo shoot? It’s fun to catch your family in real-life moments, but doing a quick check will help ensure you have at least a few photos that are frame-worthy!
  • Be aware of extraneous objects. Trees that appear to be growing out of your family’s head or people in the background who are busy with their own photo shoot are just two examples.

Edit if necessary

So you’ve taken lots of photos, checked the background, made sure you had proper lighting, and you still aren’t happy with your photos? That’s OK. A quick edit can make all the difference! An online editing program such as iPhoto or Picasa can help fix your mistakes and give you the results you want. Get rid of red eye, crop the photo to create the focus you desire, lighten up a dark snapshot or add a special effect, such as a quick switch to black-and-white. All of these enhancements — and more — are easily achieved with an online editing program.

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