There something about seeing a darling little granddaughter in a cute princess costume or a Dracula enshrouded grandson that makes grandmothers grab their cameras! Who can resist taking a plethora of pictures of the ghouls and goblins in their costumes at a family Halloween party?
But, have you ever looked at your pictures after all of the goodies have been eaten, the decorations cleaned up, and everyone’s gone home only to find that very few of your pictures turned out?
If that’s happened to you, you might want to follow some of these tips to ensure that you’ll come away with fabulous pictures.
1. Practice, practice, practice. If you’re using a digital camera and you’re not quite familiar with it, take some time before the grandkids come over to show off their costumes so you can become familiar with your camera. Especially the settings for using the indoor flash feature. There’s nothing more disappointing than taking inside pictures only to later find that they are grainy because of poor lighting. (Voice of experience here . . .)
2. Use the rule of thirds. Imagine that your view finder is divided into a tic-tack-toe grid. As you take pictures, put the more important elements of your picture where the lines intersect. This will add visual interest to what might be a rather ordinary picture.
3. Get a little bit closer. Instead of standing far back from your subjects, take several steps closer (or use the zoom feature) . Fill your view finder with your photo subject. You want to capture the twinkle in your granddaughter’s eye or the impish smile of your grandson — and not a landscape picture of the whole room. (Which do you care most about — the room or your grandchild?)
4. Pay attention to the background. Is the background busy? Cluttered? Detracting? You want the main focus to be your grandchildren and not what’s happening in the background. Nor do you want the background to detract from your grandchild. And, make sure the background isn’t creating a strange picture such as flowers sitting on your grandchild’s head (if you’re taking pictures outside).
5. Don’t say “smile.” When you say “One, two, three, smile’ your photo subjects have a forced, unnatural smile. Before you take the picture you might want to say something silly like “There’s a bird coming out of your nose!” Or “Macaroni and cheese, please.” Or tell a knock knock joke. Saying something that they aren’t expecting will put natural laughs on their faces.
6. Change perspectives. Squat down to be eye-level with your grandchildren. Lie on the floor to shoot upward. (Just make sure you can get back up . . . ) Tower over your granddaughter and shoot down on her. Stand so you are facing her side and have her look over her shoulder. Doing this will make your pictures more interesting.
7. Take candid shots. Sometimes the best pictures are the ones where your grandchildren aren’t even aware that you’re taking their picture. Don’t have them stop and pose for you. Instead, just start snapping. You’ll end up with far more natural photos.
8. Take lots of pictures. The more the merrier. Taking pictures with a digital camera is SO much cheaper. You don’t have to pay for the film nor for the processing. Not every picture will be a keeper. But that’s okay. By having a large number of pictures to choose from there’s sure to be several that are precious.
These tips apply any time you take pictures — not just at Halloween time. Practicing these tips will improve your pictures and will become second nature to you.
On your mark. Get set. Grandmas, grab your cameras! Happy picture taking!