I have been desperate to learn how to take a half decent photo for what seems like forever.
In 2012 my now husband and I treated ourselves to a DSLR camera to take away with us. As most people do, we took it away, took a few photos on auto mode (which weren’t terrible I hasten to add) and thought right, we are obviously fantastic photographers now.
And yet, something was missing from the joy of using this new camera.
Since having our youngest, and as part of my Year of Me, I have enrolled myself onto a photography evening course at a local college. It is probably the single best thing that I have done as part of this year’s challenge so far.
I have learned how to actually use our DSLR to some fairly decent effect, but more importantly than that, I have found something I really enjoy doing. I still have loads to learn (as my Insta feed constantly reminds me) but for the meantime I am really enjoying being able to document the girls’ lives through something I enjoy doing – taking photos of them, and hundreds of photos at that! I do still use my phone a lot to take pictures of the girls as it’s always on hand but there is a clear difference to the photos I am able to take with the DSLR.
Below are some of my top tips to getting something half decent of the kids whether you are using a DSLR or just your mobile phone:
1. Know your light
This is something that I probably never considered before the course and one of the main reasons why my photos always looked so bad before.
Make sure you have a good light source. Think not so bright it will make people squint, but not so dark you can’t see anything. Shooting outside – a cloudy day works best. Inside – try and think about placing lights to the side, and make sure you haven’t got lots of shadow.
2. Bribe your kids
On the whole I have fairly willing subjects. However there are days when it would be perfect to get some good pictures and the kids are just not on board. This is when activities like feeding the ducks, finger-painting or playing in the park work as the perfect bribery. They get to have fun, and you can get some really natural, and fun pictures. On this note, check your settings briefly whilst you’re out and about shooting but try just to take as many photos as possible – you can always delete them when you get back but you can’t always go back and get a picture if you’ve missed the moment.
3. Invest in some half-decent editing software
As an amateur (and even that’s kind some days!) one of the best tools I’ve found is a good piece of editing software. My personal choice is LightRoom as it is really simple and easy to use but it helps me get the best out of those slightly over-exposed photos, or even blur out things I didn’t mean to get in my shot. Some people would call this cheating – I say it’s using all resources available to you!
Hope this gives you a couple of pointers – as I say, I am by no means a pro but these are all things that I’ve found have really improved my picture taking. If you want to see some more examples of my shots, check out my Instagram here.
I use a Nikon D3100 which I got from Currys rather a long time ago! I like shooting portraits of the girls with a 50mm lens but also just use the basic kit lens that came with the camera. I also use my Samsung S7 phone to take a lot of pictures. How do you like to take photos? Do you have any tips?