tzaneen girls blog

Girls’ Night Workshop: How to Take Better Pictures and How to Look Good in Pictures

A few years ago I lead a workshop at the local teen girls’ night and had a great time.  Here’s what we talked about!

Part 1: How to Take Better Pictures

This information is directed at beginners/casual photographers.

norules

With that in mind, there are some things to think about that can dramatically improve your pictures:

1. LIGHT: the most important factor when taking photographs.  In the example below, you can see that the picture on the left looks more natural than the one on the right.  I used natural light in the picture on the left, and my camera’s flash in the picture on the right.  Although there is slightly more light in the picture on the right, I believe the left hand picture looks better and more natural because of the natural light.

I definitely prefer the first image

Natural light is best; try to avoid using your flash if possible.

The Golden Hours are fantastic times to catch a nice, soft light in both nature and people.  The Golden Hours occur around sunrise and sunset.

 Try to shoot in the "golden hours" - around sunrise and sunset.

Try to shoot in the “golden hours” – around sunrise and sunset.

The picture below was from one of my very first photo shoots.  I had a good idea, but didn’t realize it would be painful for my subjects!  They tried their best but it’s pretty hard to hide a pained expression!  So we moved into the shade and that produced a much better result!  Shade is a great place to take portraits(most of the time!).

 Don't photograph people in the midday sun unless you like the squinty look.

Don’t photograph people in the midday sun unless you like the squinty look.

12-06-07 -- Small Group Photo Shoot 116

Much better to move them into the shade.

2. Make it INTERESTING:

Use props; look for colour

Use props; look for colour

3. Have a PLAN: research Pinterest for good ideas!

I love making pinterest boards with different pose ideas.  Before a shoot I print them out to get some ideas.

I love making pinterest boards with different pose ideas. Before a shoot I print them out for reference.

4. Take LOTS of pictures:

 it's the digital era!  Try as many different angles and ideas as you can think of.

it’s the digital era! Try as many different angles and ideas as you can think of.

5. Composition:

One of the most popular composition methods is the rule of thirds.  Imagine your shot like a grid, and put your subject either on an outer third or at an intersection.

One of the most popular composition methods is the rule of thirds. Imagine your shot like a grid, and put your subject either on an outer third or at an intersection.

Some examples.

Some examples.

it's not a hard and fast rule though.  Try different things.

it’s not a hard and fast rule though. Try different things.

6. Check your BACKGROUND:

this is my favourite example of why it is important to check out what's in your background! :)

this is my favourite example of why it is important to check out what’s in your background! 🙂

If you have a boring/yucky background, back up and zoom in on your subject to achieve a blurrier background.

If you have an unappealing background, back up and zoom in on your subject to achieve a blurrier background.

7. Try to capture EMOTION:

one of my favourite photos ever.

one of my favourite photos ever.

8. EDITING!  My preferred mode of editing is with Lightroom, but you can also use free online software like picmonkey.com.  It’s where I made all of these collages as well.

you don't need to have photoshop to play around - I like using picmonkey.com to use effects like "sunglow"

you don’t need to have photoshop to play around – I like using picmonkey.com to use effects like “sunglow”

Part 2: How to Look Better in Pictures

1. CONFIDENCE: How many people are truly confident in themselves, particularly in the way they look?  Your confidence really comes through in photos.  If you don’t have it, fake it.  No one will know.

2. HEAD JUT:

Almost everyone has that "chin stuff" - jut your chin out to make a more definitive jaw line.  It might feel weird, but it will look better in the picture.

Almost everyone has that “chin stuff” – jut your chin out to make a more definitive jaw line. It might feel weird, but it will look better in the picture.

3. SQUINTY EYES

I've shared this tip in a blog before (titled "selfies") - it can make your face look a little more interesting, a little more confident.

I’ve shared this tip in a blog before (titled “selfies”) – it can make your face look a little more interesting, a little more confident.

4. NATURAL SMILE:

I got my model, Noy, to make a HUGE smile and then as it died down, it looked more natural.  I also asked her to jump, which always produces natural smiles!  Try jumping up and down in front of someone with a neutral expression.  Harder than it sounds.

I got my model, Noy, to make a HUGE smile and then as it died down, it looked more natural. I also asked her to jump, which always produces natural smiles! Try jumping up and down in front of someone with a neutral expression. Harder than it sounds.

5. BE YOURSELF: are you serious?  Silly?  Love who you are and let that shine in the camera!

After sharing this information, I took the girls outside(to get the natural light) to do a photo shoot to apply the things we learned.   We all had a lot of fun.  Here are some of the beautiful faces I photographed:

Aren't they gorgeous?!

Aren’t they gorgeous?!

Comment below or contact me if you have questions!

4 thoughts on “Girls’ Night Workshop: How to Take Better Pictures and How to Look Good in Pictures

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