September 28, 2009


Have you ever developed a roll of film, excited how your pictures are going to turn out-- only to be disappointed with the results? Wasting time and money, you find yourself hating how your pictures look because the lighting was all wrong, there was too much chaos in the background, and the angle made you look like you were retaining water weight from a pregnancy you had 5 years ago.

Ugh. We've all been there! (If you're a man, you have no idea what I'm talking about.)

My mind has been on photography lately. As some of you know, I worked as a professional outdoor photographer—before kids. Now, I just do it on the side. But I thought I would share a few tips, since everyone usually wants to take a better quality photo. We’re all students. I’m still learning more every day.

I’ll just call this post PHOTO 101. This will be part 1 of a series I will be doing. These are some of the basics to turn an ordinary photo, to a “wow” photo.

#1—watch the background.

I repeat, WATCH the BACKGROUND. You don’t want telephone wires coming out someone’s ears, or an apple tree behind your kid's head that makes them look like they have an impressive and gigantic rack of horns that would put any elk to shame.

Here are some examples of good and bad pics.

This is good. Nothing in the background interferes with the subject or takes away from the obvious subject.

Hmmm.....this is bad. Very bad. I have sprouted horns of corn stalks and they aren't comely. All This picture needs is a crow and a pumpkin and I am outfitted! WAS around halloween--but that still doesn't count!

Um, yeah. It looks like this extension cord is going through this little girl's ears. The expression on her face is classic too. She looks a little worried...

In this photo, it looks like the horse is being fed a plastic bag. He's even licking his lips. YUMMY!! Plastic bags are 2nd only to apples!

Okay—this last one was staged—but OH so worth it! Thanks Rob and Tina. You guys are great sports! Thanks for humoring me. The “hippo snake” pic turned out awesome! Some people call it mental illness, I call it unmitigated fun! :)
A simplistic and basic rule in photography is called: The Rule of Thirds. You never point and shoot. Never. If you’re on vacation and you want to snap a good picture—take it. But if you’re doing a wedding, reception, engagements, senior pics, kids pics, family pics—whatever—you want to obey this rule strictly. Your pics will turn out mucho better!

So here’s what you do. If you’re looking thru the lens of your camera and your model is smack dab in the middle—move the lens slightly and place your model in any of the 4 corners of the camera. Either the upper left, upper right, lower right, or lower left of the camera lens. By doing so, you are still allowing some "space" at the side of your subject.
Here are some examples:

Placing the subject on the upper left hand side creates "space" to the right of the photo. Instead of taking the picture of this little girl by placing her in the center of the frame, just move the lens over and VOILA! You've added a deeper dimension to your photo.

This is another example of placing your subject at the left hand side of the camera lens. DONT be afraid to zoom in!

Here is an example of placing your subject near the lower right hand side of the lens. You add more dimension by not placing the subject in the center.

This is an example of taking a picture in the upper right hand side of the camera lens. By doing so, you create "space" to the left of the photo and thereby--you've created an element of drama, baby!

These are just some of the techniques you can use to take better photos. It’s fun to play around with the camera and try new things. Don’t be afraid to be creative or to explore. And if you have a digital camera—that will be easier on your time and on your wallet. :)

*Camryn owns exclusive rights to Elegant Culture. All photos taken by Camryn on Mean Mommy University are copyrighted. Please do not copy, print, or distribute in any way. Thank you!*


Amy said...

Who knew you were a photographer, wow you talented little lady! My dad is a photographer too so I know a little I guess, but honestly I learned a lot from this. I'm so one to see the little sprouting of trees, telephone poles, etc....coming from people's heads, I always think, REALLY, YOU CAN'T SEE THIS??? Anyway LOVE LOVE LOVE the pics, especially of our cute little friend! Prego one is AWESOME!!

Bellatina said...

Wow Cam....those turned out great. I love the editing too. I hadn't seen the one by the water with cute. Great info.

Jess said...

You have real talent with photography. Can you come teach me?!?! I am hit & miss. Part of the problem is that I don't really understand my really awesome camera & everytime I try to read the manual my eyes cross & I realize I don't actually speak cameraese.

Chance's Mom said...

I did not know you were so gifted! Cute, cute pictures! I think the adorable subjects help out too!

Ama Salcido said...

You should go see your physician about your ears