The lockdown has inspired many to become imaginative, experimental and inventive. People are trying their hand at activities they never thought they would enjoy doing. Some have picked up books to read for the first time, have been writing, while some have discovered their love for photographing everyday moments! And why not? Isn’t this the best time to get all those baby and family pictures you wanted to, but never had the time before?
So, get your family to wear their best attire, and snap away! And, while you’re at it, you’d best learn all the tricks of getting professional-level pictures! Yes, it is very possible at home.
Tips to Capture Professional-Level Photographs
The tips given below can help you capture photos as good as the professionals. You don’t necessarily need a professional camera; just a decent smartphone will also work for your lockdown album if you follow the steps and try new perspectives when taking pictures.
1. Light Up!
Appropriate lighting makes your photographs look bright and eye-catching. It is one of the most common tricks to make the photos pop by highlighting the subject and adding an appropriate amount of contrast.
So, how do you use the light? Use these suggestions to make the subject the highlight of the picture.
- The subject should never stand against the light. The bright light coming from behind will give you a silhouette, but not the right kind. You want to capture photos of your people, not their shadows. It’s best if the light falls on the front of the subject.
- When in the sun, or when facing the light, you may use a shade to block the strong sunlight to avoid over-exposed pictures. Also, adjust the subject to avoid dark shadows, especially on the face.
- If using a flash, ensure there are no reflective areas around the subject that the flashlight will hit. This will reduce of chances of a blurry image. Also, go for the flash only when you have enough natural light for better results. It’s because most smartphone cameras have small sensors and narrow apertures that do not allow enough light to come through. The outcome, thus, is a dark/blurry picture, especially during low-light or at night. The quality and maintenance of the camera lens also affect the quality of the picture.
In the image below, the light hits the subject (the family) from the left. However, because the family is at an angle, there are no dark shadows on the faces.
The light indoors may or may not be bright enough to get good pictures. In that case, you can use additional lights and diffusers to brighten the shadows and bring about the right mood. Frosted shower curtains or wax paper can be used as a diffuser at home. Here’s a quick DIY to make one with wax paper.
DIY Light Diffuser
- A cardboard sheet – 3X2 feet minimum
- Wax paper roll
- Cutter or a pair of scissors
- A pencil
How to Make It:
- You need to first cut a rectangular frame from the cardboard sheet.
- With a pencil, mark an inch inside from the edges of the cardboard sheet.
- Draw lines connecting the dots.
- With a cutter or a pair of scissors, cut the inside of the frame. Your cardboard frame is now ready. If you happen to cut the frame accidentally, just tape it up.
- Now, lay the cardboard frame on the floor.
- Apply glue on the frame.
- Roll out the wax paper and stick it starting from the top of the frame to the bottom.
- Repeat the previous step till the entire cardboard frame has one layer of wax paper.
- Let the glue dry, and your light diffuser is ready.
Now, all you have to do is use an LED bulb and place it behind the diffuser. Keep the diffuser leaning on a wall or get a member of the family to hold it, and you’ll have some good light for the family pictures you want to take.
Now, let’s move on to the angle of the subject.
2. The Right Angle
Getting the angle right is one of the toughest things in photography, but it is not impossible. The best thing to do when you don’t have the knowledge about angles in photography is to experiment until you get it right. And, you have a lot of time to experiment during the lockdown. Therefore, explore different perspectives, try every angle possible, and keep adjusting the light till you get satisfactory results.
When you’re at it, try these camera angles to see the difference for yourself.
- Low Camera Angle – It makes the subject look tall, strong and powerful. It is a great trick to capture a picture of your little baby walking like a boss around the house.
- High Camera Angle – It can make the subject look smaller and less powerful; perfect for capturing the cuteness of your tiny tot.
- Mid or Eye-Level Angle – This makes the subject look natural. Try it for portraits, headshots, and selfies, and you’ll love the result.
Once you decide which angle you want to go for, follow the next step to capture the image.
By focus, we mean focus on the subject, or else, you will end up capturing a picture cluttered with everything you don’t want in the frame. This is how the focus feature works on a smartphone – when you tap the screen on the subject, you will sharpen the view and blur out everything that’s around the subject. This trick can be applied for moving subjects too. So, if your baby can crawl or walk, and you want to capture the moment, just tap on the baby’s image on the screen and click the picture.
In the image below, the baby’s toes are in focus, and the rest of the frame is blurred out. This puts all the attention on the baby’s tiny toes.
After you’re done focussing and clicking the picture, take a look at it and try to figure out if you’re satisfied or whether there’s scope for a better image. If there was little you could do to make the image pop more, you’ll find the next tip pretty helpful.
4. Photography Tools – Your Best Friend
Whether it is a smartphone or a digital camera, use all the tools you have access to. Use the features on the camera/smartphone or download apps that give you tools to edit your photographs to look like they were shot by a professional. Use the gridlines, try the zoom feature while clicking the photos, edit the unnecessary bits, adjust the brightness, sharpness, saturation and the contrast, and add effects if you want to. From grainy to vignette, you’ll find all that you need to edit your photos and make them look perfect.
There’s something else you must remember when photographing your loved ones. Let’s head to the next tip to know it.
5. Click a Story
Everyone clicks smiling photos of their family members. This time around, especially when you have a lot of time on your hands, go that extra mile by telling a story through your pictures. Capture candid clicks when your spouse is playing Lego with your child, or when he is helping you do the dishes. Your pictures should tell the story you cannot put into words.
Clicking pictures at home with minimal equipment has a thrill of its own. Don’t let this lockdown go to waste. Get your A-game on with these simple and useful tips to make your home-photography look like it’s just out of a studio. Bonus: Think of how many DIY projects you can do with the photographs later!
Also Read: Creative Baby Photography Ideas