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7 Tips to make your photography better! [backlighting, posing, focusing, composing]

I wanted to share with you all a few of the things I’ve learned from my first two assignments! We are so lucky in my class to be able to have Brooke critique and review our assignments each week. So I have the opportunity to not only try to implement all the things from the previous week’s lesson, but to later fix things in new sessions and improve. 

1. CROPPED LIMBS! The first thing to remember is to always watch for cropped limbs. While this photo is actually probably my favorite of Dayna’s whole session because of their expressions, flattering poses, and lighting, it has one fix that could have been pretty easily applied: I cropped off Dayna’s hand, and the little dude’s feet! While this isn’t necessarily a problem that causes the photo to be ruined, it is something that, if fixed in camera, would have made this photo stand out even more on a subconscious level to most viewers. So take the time to compose before you release the shutter :)
2. FLATTERING POSES, for girlies, especially. Take a look at the difference in Dayna’s apparent size in these two photos:

The top is actually another of my favorites from her session because of the natural emotions in their faces, and the cute poses of the 3 boys. Dayna by herself is posed in a flattering position, but when comparing her apparent SIZE next to the other 3 subjects, she looks larger than the boys because all we can see of them is their cute little faces. Contrast that to the bottom photo, where we can see equal amounts of each subject, and we get a very well balanced photo. Again, the top photo isn’t necessarily a BAD picture–I LOVE it– but it could be better composed to flatter each person in the picture equally.
3. MORE flattering poses :) We focused a lot on setting up a beautifully composed picture before actually adding emotions. Specifically, poses that flatter each subject. Girls, remember these rules: Put your weight on your back leg. Bend your front leg. We want to see you from the side. In this photo, Cammi is doing exactly what she should. Also note how manly Josh looks by facing the camera straight on, emphasizing his broad shoulders, and firm stance. You can also see a slight “S” shape in Cammi, which is exactly what we want. 

See how Cammi has her legs to the side, and isn’t quite facing the camera straight on? Super feminine. 
4. BACKLIGHTING TIPS: I have learned SO many things about shooting in all natural lighting environments in this course! I’ve especially loved learning more about backlighting. I’ve learned I just need to be confident and follow a few easy rules, and I can totally pull it off :) 
Expose for your subject. Your background will most likely be overexposed, but you’ll get your subject exposed and beautiful. 
To avoid the haze you see in Cammi’s session, just shade your lens somehow. Use a lens hood, or your hand, or even have an assistant hold a diffuser over your head. Shading the lens will also get rid of the lens flares and possible hot spots you see in this photo:
It all just depends on if you like the haze and lens flares. I like them sometimes :)

5. INTERACT with your subjects! Whoa, what? This is an all new concept to me, that is so exactly what I need and want for my photography. Who would have thought that such a simple concept could turn a photo session from a series of poses where I need to determine when to use serious face or teeth smile into one where I’m trying to keep up with my subjects’ emotions. 
Ask questions. Get to know your subjects. Find out what they think about each other. You won’t regret it :) Focus on the people, not a bagillion different backdrops.
6. Where is your focus? Seriously, take a sec and look on that handy dandy display screen on your expensive camera, and figure out where your camera has decided to focus when you weren’t paying attention. (I like to pretend it has a mind of its own, even though, it’s all totally scientific and manageable if you do it right.) I am constantly, CONSTANTLY reminding myself to check this or I’ll hate myself later. Work in progress :)
7. When I’m happy they’re happy. So be happy! Have fun and your subjects will too! 
I’m SO excited for all my future sessions! It’s almost as if I’ve been given permission to do all the things I’ve always wanted but thought impossible. If you think it, go for it!
If you have any questions about how to do certain things, or how to get a certain look, just ask! I’m so SO happy to talk to you and share ideas!

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