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Expert Photo Tips

Foolproof Photo-Taking Tips

Ever want to pick the brains of your favorite photographers? We had a chance to do just that and got some great advice from pros and avid scrapbookers alike. Read on to get better photos in no time and check out our February/March 2007 issue for the full story.

Photos of Kids

Photo by Lori Nordstrom

When photographing your baby, walk all the way around to see different perspectives.
-- Lori Nordstrom, professional photographer

Let them lead. The more I try to make my kids pose for the camera or do what I think they should do, the less happy I am with the results. Now I try to stay in documentary mode and shoot what they want to show me.
-- Melissa Inman, editor

With nervous kids it helps to have them take your picture first.
-- Cameron Sadeghpour, professional photographer whose work regularly appears in Scrapbooks etc.

Instead of asking kids to sit still, I try to create an environment that will contain them in one area. For babies and toddlers I might put them in something (crate, basket, wagon, etc.), making it harder for them to get away. For mobile toddlers I will often have them sit on a chair or stool.
-- Jamie Schultz, scrapbooker and professional photographer

With kids I often let them play and will use a camera with a zoom lens as I stay at a distance. This does two things: First it keeps them more at ease. Secondly when you are at the far reaches of a zoom lens it softens the background, giving the photo more of portrait look.
-- Jay Wilde, professional photographer whose work regularly appears in Scrapbooks etc.

Don't expect kids to sit still! I usually want them to "do their thing." Photographs of kids playing, laughing, running, and dancing really show their personalities off.
-- Lori Nordstrom, professional photographer

Photograph your kids doing what they love -- playing, drawing, reading, talking on the phone, eating anything sweet, riding a bike, shooting basketball, visiting grandparents...don't worry about making them pose for the perfect shot. Just shoot.
-- Angelia Wigginton, 2007 Creative Team member

Vacation Photos

While sightseeing on vacation, try to shoot buildings and landmarks from the side that the sun is on. If you shoot toward the shady side, your camera will adjust its exposure so that the building isn't too dark and then your sky gets washed out. If you shoot from the sunny side, your sky will be bluer.
-- Kimberly Metz, associate art director and avid photographer

Don't try to cram as much as you can into you picture and then everything is so small and cluttered looking. For instance, if you are shooting a palace in Europe, get the whole building in the picture for one, but then ask yourself what is it about this building that you think is cool and photograph a tighter shot of it. Maybe it is a neat fountain or a statue or the molding around the windows.
-- Kimberly Metz, associate art director and avid photographer

Organization and Equipment

Always archive your images onto a CD or DVD for storage. Do not rely on your computer or hard drive for permanent storage. And always back-up!
-- Lori Nordstrom, professional photographer

When I get my photos back from the developer, I immediately put them in chronological order in a traditional photo album. That way the family can enjoy them right away. When I was working with film I used to get two sets, and I would tuck the second set of pictures in the same sleeve and just pull out the duplicates to scrap as needed. Now that I'm digital, I get one set developed and when I want to scrap I print up extra photos on my photo printer as I need them.
-- Irma Gabbard, 2007 Creative Team member

Play around with your camera and equipment so that you are very familiar with them and how they work best. Keep your manuals handy and read them often.
-- Tracy Kyle, contributing editor

I think the key to great photos is knowing your camera inside and out. It's important to know your camera, especially the basic relationship between shutter speed and aperture. If you always have your camera set on auto mode, your photos will always be hit and miss.
-- Daniela Berkhout. scrapbooker and professional photographer

If you use a digital camera, take lots of photographs. You can always go back and delete what you do not need. Also, experiment! Try shooting in different light, different times of the day. Play around and then delete what doesn't work.
-- Vicki Boutin, avid scrapbooker and photographer

The only other piece of equipment I own, besides my camera and lenses, is a good quality light meter. It helps me get proper exposure with my photos no matter the lighting situation. This is one piece of equipment I don't go to a shoot without.
-- Jamie Schultz, scrapbooker and professional photographer

Avoid your flash whenever possible. An on-camera flash will give an artificial look to your photographs. Natural light is best, so go outside or use a large window instead of flash.
-- Lori Nordstrom, professional photographer

Definitely try to shoot without a flash. The flash always distracts people and keeps you from getting natural action.
-- Melissa Inman, editor