November 20, 2011

#45 – Find little moments to make some of the best photos.

Best wedding photo, like ever.

I don't know what it was like to be a wedding photographer in the 1970s, but I can only guess it was awful.

Go ahead, flip back through the photo albums of parents/friends/yourself and take a look at photos snapped at nuptials. All stilted and posed, with far too much powder blue tossed in for good measure.

Here’s the bad news. Flash forward to what’s hiding on your iPhone and you’re going to find the modern equivalent. Sure, the snaps you took at your friend’s birthday bash don’t suffer from the same bad fashion sense, but look a little closer. There it is – the posing. Sure it’s a little more cheesy than the stuff from That ‘70s Photo, but it’s still posing nonetheless.

When it comes to what you’re taking “in the moment” shots (pros call them editorial, or sometimes “grab” shots), you’ll want a few posed pictures. But the real magic happens when you catch something beautiful/funny/touching happening. Those snapshots are genuine. They create emotion. They get remembered.

So go ahead and whip out your point-and-shoot or phone at the next family function. Get a few goofy grins on your memory card. Then turn yourself into a ninja. Get quiet and sneaky and start quietly taking pictures of little moments. You’ll be amazed at what you find.

Look for a story.

Good photos tell good stories. Take a look around at what’s happening and try to anticipate where good stories are happening. Little ones chasing each other at a picnic. Baby grabbing ornaments off the Christmas tree. Grandparents doing just about anything (like having dinner at a fish and chips restaurant).

Never let them see you coming.
People get freaked out by/fall in love with a camera. Point one in their face and you’re inevitably going to get the “look at me” pic or the “person holding up their hand so you can’t take their photo” pic. Be clandestine about your pictures. Step out of the area and use a zoom lens. Keep talking as you take a picture and don’t reference the camera. Be cool, calm and collected about everything and the action will keep unfolding.

Use the tricks you’ve learned.

If you’ve hung around Frame One for awhile, you already know a bunch of great little techniques to transform a good snapshot into a great one. Use aperture to blur out the background. Get in really close on your subjects. Turn off your flash and use the natural light. Each technique helps you make that natural grab shot look a little more natural, a little more real and a little more memorable. 

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