I used to be what you might call a reluctant photographer. Even though I had no particular skills with a camera, every job I’ve had over the past 20 years–at schools and a nonprofit foundation–required me to be the photographer for activities and events. At first, I felt awkward and shy about getting out in front of people maybe blocking their view, or interrupting a conversation to get that shot. The first digital camera I used was the one with the floppy disk. It took passable pictures for some media and not so hot for others.
Since those days, digital photography and I have both gotten much better. Camera in hand, I began to enjoy interacting with people to get a good picture. I became less tentative about doing what was necessary for the assignment. I eased into practicing photography for pleasure, taking pictures not just of students, dignitaries, donors etc, but of plants and things. Since my semi-retirement, I’ve been more deliberate with the pictures I take.
Sure, I’m really just an amateur with a simple camera (a Cannon SX160 IS) and I’m still learning, but here are a few tips.
You have to take a lot of candid type shots to get even one really good one. Try posing people in fun ways when possible. At an event, candid shots often have people putting food in their mouths, pretty much unusable.
Make sure no one in the picture will have a plant or anything else growing out of their head.
Check the lighting, shadows etc. Don’t have people facing the sun and squinting.
Practice, practice, practice. Get creative whenever possible. Get down on the floor or up on a chair or ladder for a different angle. Close-ups can be cool.
Sit in a chair or get down on the floor to take pictures of children. Also, a group of small children will almost never all smile at the same time. As long as no kid is poking another kid’s eye out in the picture, it can work.
The recent work pic was a lot of fun to take.
I do have a Flickr account with some of my favorite pictures and also to chronicle some events I attended. It’s just me having fun.