Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Taking Good Portraits with an Average Camera

Today's tip comes to you from my 17 year old daughter, Graci.  She is a total snapaholic.  She brings a camera everywhere and a good number of the pics on my blog come from her.  She doesn't have a fancy camera, so she spends a lot of time messing around with lighting and shooting angles to see what works best.  And she's gotten pretty darn good with her photography, if I do say so myself.

Today she's gonna show you how to use zoom to take a better portrait.

Take it away, Graci!

First...Here's an example of what NOT to do...
In this picture I'm standing close to Patie's face with no zooming, and I'm also in direct sunlight. Note the dark around her eyes and the awkward shape of her face.  It makes her nose look bigger.
In this one she's standing in the same exact spot, but I stepped back and zoomed up on her face. She still has the shadows around her face, but she isn't nearly as awkward as in the last one!
In this one I had her stand with the sun to her back.  Note how the shadows are really strong and you can hardly make out her face/features.
  OK, so here's my tip...
I positioned her in the soft sunlight under a tree (my fav place to take a picture of somebody) and I stood far away (no zooming). It's still pretty shadowy, but look at the next picture...

In this one I zoomed up!  We have hardly any shadows and she has a soft glow. :)
This one's Patie's favorite.
This is Mom's.  If you stand in the shade under a tree, you'll be able to open your eyes all the way even on a sunny day.  I also love it when the background goes out of focus... something that you can do on purpose with a fancy camera.  I actually don't mind the subject being just a little out of focus, either, because it softens skin tones so nicely.

Well, there ya go!   This technique also works well for wrinkle reduction, which I (jen) greatly appreciate.

Go try it and tell me what you think!


  1. She's so pretty! bjperry Thanks for the tips

    1. Thank you, Brenda! Yep, they're all getting so tall... I feel like I'm shrinking! : )


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