You might have noticed that my photos have been getting a little bit better over the last few weeks. Nope, I didn’t get a brand new camera. Nope, I didn’t hire a photographer. What I did do was attend a Techlicious event where I was able to check out some new tech products that are for everyone not just those in techy jobs. During the yummy, yummy lunch we were given tips for taking photos on our phones.
I’m still working through them and using what I think works best for me. I’m still taking my photos on my phone and with the holidays coming up I’m figuring you might be gearing up to get your photography on. Some of these tips do work better on a camera but you can still use some of these your phone camera.
These tips come straight from the experts and they even threw in some fun for Halloween. Let me know how the tips work for you by tagging me in some of your new and improved photos!
Cool Halloween Trick shots
- Create ghosts in your photos with multiple exposure mode. You can create ghosts in your photos by using the multiple exposure mode in your camera. Take a shot of a scene and then another shot with a person. The multiple exposure setting will combine the two shots, making the shot with the person somewhat transparent, or ghostly. The key here is using a tripod so the background remains exactly the same in each of the two shots.
- Add ghostly writing to a scene. You can add ghostwriting by using a long exposure, ideally 30 seconds. You’ll need a tripod to keep your camera steady, a light source (flashlight or glow stick), and black gloves (to hold the light source). Once you’ve started the exposure, draw shapes or words with the light source. With your hands in the black gloves, they won’t be visible in the final shot. If you’re writing words, they’ll show up backward in the image, but that’s easier to fix by flipping the image afterward than teaching yourself how to write backwards.
- Create spooky silhouettes. Another good reason to call dusk “the witching hour” is that it’s the perfect time to capture spooky silhouettes. Find a spot with a clear line of sight to the western sky and have your subject stand in front of you with the bright sky behind them, turn off your camera’s flash and use the 20 minutes before the sun fully sets for a perfect Halloween backdrop.
Tips for taking better holiday portraits
- Use Portrait Mode for pictures that focus on people. You’ll find you’re able to capture better skin tones and usually there’s a shorter depth of field so the background is slightly blurred to put emphasis on the person.
- Use a telephoto lens or change your aperture setting to highlight your subject. If you have an interchangeable lens camera, use a telephoto lens to isolate the subject. The lens’s shorter depth of field will blur the background a bit, making the person or pet pop in the image. You can also lower your f-stop to increase the camera’s aperture, giving a similar effect.
- Use a flash on sunny days (yes, really!). Faces often look dark in bright scenes because the camera adjusts its exposure to the brightness around your subject. You can have your subject face into the sun for more light, but then you’ll wonder why everyone is always squinting in your photos. Instead, have them face away from the sun and use the flash to brighten their faces without the squint.
- Use a diffuse light source to reduce harsh shadows. Unless you’re going for a dramatic black-and-white character shot, it’s usually best to find a diffuse light source to soften the shadows. Blinds sheer curtains are particularly good at creating a diffuse light source to eliminate harsh shadows, so sit your subject near a window with the blinds closed for better lighting.
- Get down to eye level when shooting kids and pets. When shooting kids and pets, get down to their level for a more natural photo with better scale.
I also received a Tiffen Steadicam VOLT stabilizer which is making a huge difference with my videos. You’ll be able to see the difference once I upload JustaBXgirl’s new YouTube videos next week. Make sure you subscribe to her channel so that you don’t miss them. The Steadicam gets rid of all the bumpiness that usually comes from me trying to hold the camera steady.