I am so excited to have the lovely Tara guest posting today!
(Tara and her adorable dog Baxter)Tara and I have been pals since the 8th grade! Life has taken us each all over the place in very different journeys, but we still keep in touch online and it's so fun to be blogging buddies! Tara started her own little photography business In Between the Blinks. Today she is sharing her top 5 photography tips:
Over the last year, I’ve had several loves collide. I’ve taken photos my entire life, always acting as the
permanent preserver of memories and moments. Then, I adopted a dog. Baxter forever changed my
life. I’ve always had a huge heart for animals, but he’s the reason I became so involved with local animal
shelters. I began snapping photos of the dogs and cats to use as their photos for people to be able to
browse the adoptable pets online. I started with my awesome Panasonic Lumix Digital Point and Shoot
camera. I wanted to take my photos to the next level and “upgraded” to a Canon Rebel (SLR camera).
Here are some of the best tricks and guidelines I’ve learned and love to share.
#1 – The Background
What’s behind you? How many times to do have a group of friends around us and suddenly decide we
must have a photo of us all together? Only later, we find that somebody has a tree or lamp “growing”
out of their head. Or in my case a few years ago…there’s a beautiful sunset and we snap a photo but
are so mesmerized by the sunset (which is the background after all) that we didn’t happen to notice that
there’s somebody head-butting me in the background.
Sometimes all it takes is a few steps to the left or right to cover up anything that might be distracting in
Also, if you are near a wall that provides a nice background, don’t back all the way up against it. Provide
some space between you and your background. The more space, the “softer” the background becomes
and the more you (or your subject) become the focus.
Fill up the Frame! So often there is a lot of negative space in our photos. We’re taking a photo with
friends at a family picnic or dad holding his new baby and then have to crop the photo later because we
were too far away. As my mentor told me, “when you think you’re close enough, take a few more steps
#3 Rule of thirds:
Many digital cameras today offer different display options. Most have a grid of nine boxes. This is to
show you the lines that can help you line up your subject according to this principal.
The rule of thirds is all about composition and setting the objects in your viewfinder in the “right
spot” to be the most aesthetically pleasing and well-balanced. This is also a very editorial look. (Think
newspaper writers’ photo above their stories where they are either on the left or right 1/3 of the
So instead of taking a photo that has your child or dog in the center of the screen, adjust your camera so
they are on the left or right side, or if they are in the center, make sure their eyes fall along one of the
In its simplest form: line up the eyes or main object in the photo where the lines of the grid intersect.
This website has a great example of the “Grid”.
The most important lighting element is even lighting. The best time to shoot is early morning or just
before sunset, but since we don’t live our lives around when we’re going to take photos, we often find
ourselves out on a bright sunny day.
If you are outside make sure to FIND THE SHADE! It’s tough to find a spot in the sun where your subject
won’t be squinting and there won’t be shadows on faces which can be very unflattering. A cloudy day
can be ideal since the clouds naturally diffuse the light for us!
Don’t be afraid to move. So often we are at the beach or outside and we just want to snap a quick
photo. Don’t be afraid to swing 90 degrees so that the sun isn’t shining sideways across everybody’s
face. Or better yet, make sure the sun isn’t behind you. This is known as backlighting. It sounds like a silly
reminder, but I see people do it all the time! Mostly at the beach.
#5 Play with your camera:
Today’s point-and-shoot digital cameras have almost every setting you can think of for shooting : snow,
at the beach, food, the sunset, action shots. (That’s one reason why I’m focusing on non-technical tips
that we can all do no matter what type of camera). We usually spend all this money on a camera with
fantastic features, but cruise around with it always on auto.
Use your different settings. These are made with set light sensitivity (ISO) and shutter speed settings
that you would have to adjust yourself if using a digital SLR camera. Don’t let these pre-sets go to waste!
Finally, when it comes to children, let them play! After doing several photo shoots with two year olds
that had no interest in sitting still or having a photo taken, I’ve learned to let kids be kids and go to a
park or a place where they will be distracted. If they are nappers, know when they will be most alert
and the least cranky.
And remember…all rules are made to be broken!
Feel free to email me with any other questions at email@example.com ! Happy Shooting.
Thanks so much Tara!!! It's wonderful to have you here today! :) You can find Tara at her blog here, and her photography site here.