August 17, 2011

#32 – Turn your subjects and unborify your photos.

Mounties know how to pose. Me? I could have turned my feet a bit more.

People are not flat.

Yet if you go through the pools of photos on the Facebook, Flickr or instagram, you’ll see snapshot after snapshot that makes it seem like everyone in the group seem less real than a Pixar character. There they are, standing straight up with toes pointing straight ahead – you’ll notice it a whole lot in those small group photos you take at your best friend’s birthday party.

Good photos – and good snapshots have dimension and depth. They should look like you could step into the frame and put your arms around anyone in the frame. Here’s how.

Start with the feet.

Taken straight on, the would have looked boring.
I once had a photo teacher who said “start with the feet and the body will follow.” Turn your subject – or in a group photo, turn a few of them – so you can see some depth. You want shoulders to be angled instead of flat. Suddenly, your photos look a whole lot more interesting.

Make it look natural.
On a great angle, but not sure he looks a llllllll that natural (still a great looking' kid!).

As soon as you tell someone to do something when you’re holding a camera, you’ve got a decent chance that they’ll “pose” for you. For most people, posing looks just wrong. Keep talking to whoever is in the photo to make them forget the camera. Still posing? Make them do the goofiest pose you can imagine. It helps shake out the butterflies.

If you’re standing on perpendicular to your subjects, move yourself a bit. They’ll hardly recognize what’s happening and by the time that they do, you’ll have your killer photo.

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