As a self-taught photographer and owner of Ali Anne Photography, I have spent a considerable amount of time reading and learning from other professionals as well as training my eye to take quality photos.
When I am not carrying around my professional camera, here are three basic tips/tricks that I frequently keep in mind when taking photos with a point and shoot camera, phone or tablet:
1) Lighting is the key. Are you taking a photo outside? If so, direct sunlight can cause your subjects to squint and be uncomfortable. Try for complete shade or early morning/early afternoon when the sun is less harsh. For photos inside a dimly lit room or restaurant, turn off the flash. The last thing you want is more squinting, blinking, or “ghost face” from being overexposed from the flash with a completely black background. Your camera or device may have a setting for indoor use or low light that may be helpful, just be sure to steady the camera so the shutter can open long enough to properly capture the image.
2) The more natural, the better. Avoid the “Awkward Family Photos” posing or strange surroundings. When people think of you, how do you want to be remembered? People remember you happy, laughing, in motion and full of life, not stiff and uncomfortable. Tell your subjects a joke or have them tickle each other, dance with each other or share a memorable experience they have together. Try to capture the sparkle in their eyes.
3) Composition. When you look at a photo you like, take a moment to figure out why. Oftentimes the subject in many photos isn’t in the exact center of the photograph. Sometimes the subject isn’t looking directly at the camera. Pay attention to what is going on behind your subject also, as it can be hard to ignore random people in the background. When taking photos of children or pets, don’t be afraid to get down at eye level instead of the typical view from up high.
Think outside the box before you hit that button.
To see more of Ali’s work, check out her website at: Ali Anne Photography, and smile pretty.