With the holidays and lots of extra family time fast approaching I thought I would go slightly off topic to share a few tips on how to take better people pictures. I’m going to stick with tips that don’t depend on the quality of your camera, but rather your thoughtfulness and skills of observation. Leave out clutter
Simplicity is underrated, don't be afraid to get up close and focus on one small detail. Some things are bound to change, like the texture of a baby's hair, so if you get a detail shot of something like this you have an instant keepsake.
Watch Your Corners
Similarly, try checking the corners of your shot before you snap to make sure you really want to include everything in the frame. You may want to adjust your zoom or physically move yourself to include more or less in the frame. You want to have enough information for context, but to avoid too many elements or things that are just plain distracting. For this shot, I wanted enough branches to show that Kevin was in a tree, but I didn't want the whole tree because I wanted him to be the focus.
Be Sneaky Like a Ninja
Yes, I want you to lurk a little and it’s going to be totally worth it. Why? Because nearly every person, even those too young to make a complete sentence, is conditioned to stop and smile when a camera is pointed at them and that doesn’t make for the most interesting pictures. When you capture some action, movement or even a quiet moment, you’re pictures will become a lot more interesting.
Wait For a Reaction
Like I said before, point a camera at someone and they will stop dead in their tracks and hold whatever is in their hands somewhere under their face with a big fake smile. We can all spot a fake smile. A big, laughing smile or a funny reaction to something is much more fun to look at and requires just a bit of patience to capture.
Try focusing on a specific person when you know they are going to react to something and then wait for it...BOOM. Here, someone was telling a funny story and I knew that Tanya would have a reaction to it, so I kept my camera pointed at her until this moment. You can do the same thing at a family gathering.
To your camera’s best ability, shoot away! A lot of times you can great a great shot of someone just after they look away from your camera and towards someone else, which -BONUS POINTS- can result in a more natural smile. And those are my favorite!
Above all else, remember it's not about looking perfect.
I hope this helps give you some inspiration for getting some great pictures of your family and friends regardless of your camera. Cameras don't take pictures, people do. And don't you forget it!