8 Simple Steps towards Better Photos – part III

Eight simple steps toward making your images more visually interesting is a series of tips by Barb Gordon.  To see her bio and the first two tips click here, or view her second installment here.  Today, Barb will cover tips five and six:

Tip #5 Distortion

One way distortion happens is if you are too close to your subject using a wide angle lens.  You will find the facial features warped and distorted. I see many amateur images that have this problem, and they generally do not notice it.

In the example above, for which my model volunteered, I have used a 200mm lens on the left image and a wide angle set at 28mm on the right one. Anything focal length greater than 50mm would look fine for a portrait. For the wide angle, however, I was only three feet from her face, and it is not a flattering image at all.

If someone sits facing you and has their feet or hands extended out towards you, their feet or hands are going to look too big and out of proportion. Unless you are shooting a shoe catalog, or going for an unusual technique, this perspective may not be an attractive look. Keeping the body parts on a more similar plane of focus will look nicer.

Notice her hands look as big as her head. The poor thing.

Tip #6 Expression

The most endearing part of any photograph of people is the expression. All other elements may fail, and we still love the photograph because of the expression.

Getting a great expression is often the hardest part of taking portraits.  There are so many factors that come into play.  This skill takes time to develop and find out what works and what does not.

You could try talking about something funny or sing silly songs.  Saying “cheese” is not recommended. You know what you’ll get? A big, fake, toothy, goofy face.

Putting so much pressure on a child to perform can really get in the way of getting real expressions.

It is often harder photographing your own kids and pets because they know how to push your buttons! That’s a good thing for us professional photographers.  Our many years of experience working with so many people of all ages really shows in our work.

Thanks again, Barb!  Look for the final installment, in which Barb will discuss color and exposure.

Photography expert Barb Gordon, Master Photographer, publishes Barb Gordon Photo Coach’s Shooting For Success ezine. If you’re ready to take your photography to the next level, get your FREE reports “Make Photography More than a Hobby” and “15 Ways to Make More Money with your Photography” now at http://www.BarbGordonPhotoCoach.com

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