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Ten Tips for taking better portraits of family and friends

Use Your Flash
Most of us love taking pictures and there's always a camera at any event or family gathering. But sometimes we wish that we knew how to make a good portrait photo that doesn't resemble some shoddy happy snappy. Gerrie from OpenImage Photography was kind enough to give us a few tips on how to take the perfect portrait.

1. Use Your Flash
When shooting during the day in bright sun light, it's always better to use your flash. Don’t think because it’s so bright outside that you don’t need to use your flash. In fact, the bright sunlight creates shadows in the eye socket. You need just that extra bit of flash to remove that shadow.

Zoom IN
2. Zoom IN
Don't stand too close to your subject and zoom out to get the full photo.  Rather take a few steps back and zoom IN.  This will ensure that your photo is in proportion.  If you stand too close, your subject might be out of proportion ie. their head might be smaller than their feet, or their hands might be bigger than their face.

Beware of Nostrils
3. Beware of Nostrils
Try to avoid shooting from a low angle.  Sometimes the only thing you see are nostrils.  When photographing portraits, try your best to have your camera at the same height as your subjects eyes.  Too low or too high will make your subject seem out of proportion again... unless that's what you are aiming for.


Use Angles
4. Use Angles
Don't take ID Photos... use angles.  Turn your subject slightly sideways, but make sure they're still facing the camera (unless you want to take mug shots).  This will make your subject appear slimmer (ladies will love you for this tip).

5. Chin-up Boy!
When shooting someone with a double chin, ask them to lift their chin slightly.  This will make the double chin look less obvious.  There is however only so much you can do to hide that double chin and it wouldn't make for very good portraits if the subject is constantly looking straight up at the sky to avoid their chin looking a little "doubly".

Find Good Shade
6. Find Good Shade
When shooting in bright day light, don't use shade created by trees.  These shadows are very blotchy and will look terrible on your photos.  Try instead to find even shade without blotches.

7. Make Them Smile
When photographing people, say something to get a natural smile out of them.  Make them feel comfortable and compliment the photo after you've taken it.

Make Them Smile
8. Open Those Eyes
Take more than one photo, especially when photographing groups.  This will improve your chances of getting a photo where everyone's eyes are open.

9. Check your LCD
Never be too comfortable to not look at your camera screen.  Make sure the photo is right.  If not, retake it.

10. Break the Rules
And lastly... Have fun and be creative!  There is no feeling quite like having taken a good photo.  Don't be shy to try new stuff.  A lot of the time great photos are born from accidents.

I hope that our tips have helped you and that you feel encouraged to go out there, grab the nearest willing subject, plant them down in the front yard and make them pose for you.  Good photos develop from practice.  Know your camera and what it can do.

Enjoy!

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