It’s a hard reality for parents but you can’t stop time. All those wonderful moments known as life go from the future to the present and off into the past in a fleeting moment. I think that’s why I love taking pictures. It’s an attempt to capture a moment to share and preserve what will one day be a memory. I’m no photographer but Jennifer Pearson is and at a Panasonic LUMIX event she shared some great tips on how to take good pictures.
Although I still use my iPhone to capture quick shots, I love my Panasonic LUMIX GF3X for the important shots, the memory shots, the shots I want to keep and share. And to make sure these keepers were actually worth keeping, I applied some of Jennifer’s tips on how to take good pictures.
How to Take Good Pictures – Framing
Jennifer’s Tip: Always be aware of your surroundings. Use architectural features, such as door frames and buildings, to create a border around your shot. BONUS TIPS: Try getting creative by changing up the shooting angle – this will instantly add dimension to your photo.
I love capturing my kids in their surrounding, using elements around them to add to the picture. Using the camera’s zoom enables me to get different looks without moving my subject or myself. Changing my perspective can also lead to an interesting take on a photo too.
How to Take Good Pictures – Lightening
Jennifer’s Tip: Be aware of your light source – where is it coming from? Where are the shadows? A common trick used by most photographers is shooting in open shade – a technique where you place your subject (person or object) in the shade but just on the cusp of the light with the sun positioned over your shoulder. This removes harsh shadows and awkward squinting, while placing a lovely light in their eyes.
When it comes taking good pictures, I think lighting is one of my biggest issues. Images are either too dark or too light. I love the open shade tip and have started using this more when it comes to taking outdoor shots of the kids. I love avoiding the darkened faces or squinty eyes too. For inside shots, the flexible flash on the LUMIX GF3X really makes a difference, especially after Jennifer demonstrated the ability to point the flash up. This is great for reducing that ‘super flash’ look on interior shots. I’ve always thought the flash was either used or not but now I’ve discovered my camera offers some flexibility, resulting in better shots. The camera’s ability to adjust exposure composition too (and see it right on the screen, before taking the shot), is also a great feature.
How to Take Good Pictures – Motion or Action Shots
Jennifer’s Tip: Whether you are taking photos of your kids on the ski hill or video of their soccer game, it’s important to follow your subject while they are in motion. Track them through the viewfinder and try and keep your camera as still as possible. BONUS TIP: Recording a fast-paced swim meet? Try using video mode and a tripod to follow the action.
Some of the shots I love the most are the non-posed, not standing still shots. These do more than capture a moment; they capature energy. But getting the right shot can be tricky. My iPhone was never very good at these action shots but my thankfully my Panasonic LUMIX GF3X AF technology (which I’ve heard is one of the fastest) tracks my subject. I selected my daughter as the subject on the touch screen and the camera followed her down the hill, keeping her in focus for the shot I wanted.
How to Take Good Pictures – Composition (Rule of Thirds)
Jennifer’s Tip: One of the easiest ways to give your shots a professional look and feel is to follow the “rule of thirds”. A common practice in the photography world, this approach breaks your photo down into thirds or a grid system (both horizontally and vertically) so that you have nine parts. By placing items of importance, like a child’s eyes, in the intersections or along the lines your photo instantly becomes more interesting.
I must admit I’ve never heard of the rule of thirds but I’ve always been a big fan of having my subject matter off to the side. I think it adds more fun to an image. I can usually set-up my shot with my subject off center but my camera does have a grid pattern on the screen to help with position if needed. It’s a nice visual reminder if you happen to always have your subject in the centre.
How to Take Good Pictures – Creativity
Jennifer’s Tip: One of the best ways to capture unique and spontaneous photos is to give your friends or children something to do and photograph them along the way. So whether it’s a baking experiment or prepping for a big event, alternate between shots of people and objects to help tell the story and add interest. For example, in a double photo frame try juxtaposing two images of objects and people with the same theme together for an artsy approach.
I love using the instagram app with my iPhone photos; it has so many great filters, enabling me to have fun with the look of my photos. My Panasonic LUMIX GF3X has a whole Creative Control mode with filters including sephi, retro and even miniature (which is really cool). The great thing about these creative settings, I can see what my picture will look like through the lens versus adding a filter to the image on my computer.
Jennifer’s photo session with the Panasonic LUMIX GF3X offered so many great tips. I was impressed with my photography when I first picked up the camera (its ease of use) but by applying these tips on how to take good pictures, I think my photos will be even better.
Grab your camera and capture the moments now because before you know it, they will be behind you.