GO TO THEIR EYE LEVEL
If you’ve ever seen me photograph children, I spend a lot of time lying on my tummy or crawling around on the floor with them. Sometimes the only difference between a regular throwaway snap and a frame worthy image is just perspective! As a general rule get your camera down to your subjects eye level, they don’t have to look into the camera, just at their eye level will create a more personal shot. NB. With adults go just slightly above their eye level (never from below!) to make a much more flattering shot of anyone aware of puppy fat or double chins!
LET KIDS HAVE FUN
I’ve never understood people who dress their kids up to pose them in a random scenario like sat on a deckchair chair on fake grass in a studio or against a plain white background! Besides looking a little weird, it is an unnatural environment for the child. If you want to ‘stage’ some shots for a certain occasion then I suggest you create a situation where the children can have some fun! Splashing in puddles in the park or in the bath or sea, throwing leaves around, getting messy with finger paints! I bet you don’t have to ask more than once to get a child to do that, where as stand still and smile for mummy is slightly harder! Which leads me on to my final and BIGGEST tip for parents…
PLEASE DON’T SAY CHEESE!
My advice to parents is start taking pictures of kids from the moment they are born so a) they are used to it and don’t shy away from the camera and b) you get to document their childhood – something in years to come you will treasure. Lets face it, technology has moved on so much that most gadgets nowadays have some image capturing function so more and more pictures are being taken… however we still haven’t moved on in one way… Parents still say to kids “say cheese!!!!” It’s the single worse thing in my opinion you can do… as it begins forever more a pre-conditioned ‘cheesey’ smile every time a camera appears. Instead if you want to capture you child smiling use silly expressions, jump up and down, make a fool of yourself to capture a genuine laugh or smile and get rid of that frozen fake “camera” smile!
There’s so much going on this summer with the Olympics, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (did you see my pictures of Her Majesty in the press recently?) and I’m sure you all have some special events too. Over the next few weeks I’ll be posting some helpful tips to improve the images you take this summer.
You don’t need to have the latest digital camera to improve your pictures. Whether you want better holiday snaps, pictures of friends, your children or a family pet; the difference between just an okay image and a fantastic one is mainly small and easily fixed! Anyone, using any camera, can instantly improve his or her results with some simple tips:
FILL THE FRAME – GET IN CLOSE
A lot of times the biggest mistake people make, and the easiest to fix, is not getting in close enough to their subject. Especially when taking pictures of children or babies, we tend to just focus our eye on what our adorable child is doing and end up with a picture composed mainly of the surroundings and a small person lost amongst it! So zoom in or physically get closer and have your subject fill the frame! It makes for a more intimate and engaging image and also cuts out a lot of irrelevant background… which leads me onto the next tip.
LOOK AT THE BACKGROUND
We’re so concerned with taking a quick snap before our friends stop smiling or our child runs away that we don’t pay attention to what is going on behind and around our subject. I loose count of the amount of times I see images, which can be improved by moving ourselves as the photographer or the subject so they don’t have a tree growing out of the top of their head or a dustbin by their side!
KEEP IT SIMPLE
When photographing a family I am always asked ‘what should we wear for our shoot” and my answer is keep it simple. You don’t want an outfit to detract from a persons face or expression, especially a baby or very small child when their expressions are priceless. Big hair bows and intricate outfits or wild colors are a common mistake. Also keep props to a minimum. Have a child’s’ favorite small toy to keep them entertained or distracted while you take pictures is a great idea but a massive or irrelevant prop will just serve as a distraction.
One of the first friends I made in the industry, over 10 years ago, was the lovely Chloë Honoré and she remains one of my closest friends to date. Not only is she a great mum to two amazing girls (who I snap at every available moment), wife to a Rock Star guitarist (I shot their wedding!!) and all round fabulous person but she is also a renown make-up artist. Chloë has worked with everyone from Cheryl Cole, Usher and Leighton Meester to Alice Temperley, Sarah Ferguson and Richard Branson.
Recently, Chloë and her friend and fellow make-up artist Ruth Warrior teamed up after being asked hundreds of times if they do wedding make-up. The two have created Warrior & Honoré a bespoke make-up service for brides who rock! So brides can look and feel like an A-Lister without having to be famous! And you can rest easy knowing that you are in the hands of two of fashion and beauty’s industry leading make-up artists! I’m proud to happily recommend these guys when my brides ask me for someone to take care of their make-up for the day.
Have a look at their beautiful website to see what they can provide…
Yesterday I spent a couple of hours photographing a team of trainers, nutritionist and other well-being therapists who work out of Lomax, this super cool unique space in St James Park. Everyone was extremely friendly, if not a little scary, with their amazingly obvious fitness levels. I also shot some of the yummy food that they serve on site or deliver to their clients. I’m possibly about to embark on a little project with these guys, so more information and updates soon.