Have your camera ready: shots not to miss

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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Meet children and pets at their eye level for an intimate shot.
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Photography tips and shot suggestions not to miss

Taking great photographs of family and important moments is tricky when youíre a participant in those moments. Inspiration is all around you, and you want to capture it all without missing the experience of seeing your daughter score her first goal or watching your brother graduate, for instance. You must always have your camera ready; shots not to miss are presented in everyday moments, vacations and special occasions.

You donít have to be a trained photographer to take great photos. Nor do you need an expensive camera. A general understanding of a few of the steps you can take to get better photos will ensure that you and your camera are ready when special moments come along.

Here are a few tips to prepare your camera

Eye level:
For casual shots, consider your subject's height. If youíre taking photos of children or pets, when possible, try bending down to get your lens at their eye level. This will give enable you to fully capture expressions and result in a more intimate shot. 

When you have a choice, shoot your subject in front of a plain or less-busy background. When youíre shooting an event like an awards ceremony, wait for the moment when it doesnít look like an object in the background is a part of someoneís silhouette.

When youíre outdoors, look at the sky. If itís a cloudy day, you doní need the flash unless itís getting dark. If the sun is directly above or behind your subject, use the flash to illuminate shadowed faces. Itís also important to keep the throw of your flash in mind. If it only reaches 10 feet and your family is twenty feet away, their faces will come out too dark and you may want to think about getting an adjustable flash.

If youíre photographing the exterior of a building or taking landscape photos on vacation, try to shoot in the early morning or late afternoon to take advantage of the softest natural light.

Use a flash indoors only if overhead or natural lighting is casting a shadow on faces.

Center your subject before you hit the shutter button. If you want your subject to be off-center, hold the shutter button partially down and allow your focus to lock the subject in before shifting the frame off-center.

If youíre shooting an event, whether itís a family reunion or a soccer game, move around. Taking shots from different angles will enable you to capture a fuller memory from poignant ceremonial rituals, to grandparents on the dance floor and children feasting their eyes on the dessert table. If you hope to do more socializing than shooting, try to arrive at the event early to photograph details you may overlook during the action, like flowers and table arrangements.

Shots Not To Miss

With any event comes the anxiety of missing important shots. But as you practice, your trigger finger will learn work in sync with your eye. As things excite you, spark curiosity or strike you as beautiful, youíll be clicking away instinctually.  As you more grow comfort with your camera, confidence will replace anxiety. Until then, brainstorm the shots you may want to take before an event or create a list of what you believe are must-have shots.

To get you started, here are a few suggestions of shots not to miss:

- Staged family shots including multiple generations. You may have to direct people to get everyone in the shot, and youíll here a few complaints of boredom, but photographs with children, parents, siblings, grandparents and great grandparents are rare and priceless. This photograph should be in everyone's family photo album.

- The lists of great ceremony shots to take could fill a book. Pre-ceremony shots include a bride having her gown zipped, a date pinning on the boutonniere, putting on makeup and doing hair, hugs and the graduate smiling with his hat on. 

- The difficulty with shooting a sporting event is the nature of a gameís unpredictability. Keep your finger on the shutter button and stand as close to the action as possible. In addition to your family memberís turn at bat or epic run down the field, be ready to shoot the winning goals, coaches reactions, crowd and teammates cheering.

- Vacations typically involve a mix of staged and candid shots. Make sure to shoot the exterior of the places you visit and stay, favorite views and or proud moments like finally reaching the top of a mountain. Take your time with these types of shots. Try to really capture the feel and rhythm of a place as you shoot and the photos will be more meaningful.

- Toasts during holidays, decorations and the table lined with an elaborate meal may not strike you as the most exciting shots in the moment, but these types of family photos record the sort of details you will appreciate having for the future.

Remember, your photographs will improve with practice. Anyone who has ever struggled to take great shots knows that photography is about much more than pressing a button. 


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