I tend to take way more photos around my house than when I am out and about. I think it's because at my place, I'm in control of the situation and don't feel silly shooting the same thing multiple times. At home, no one (except Paul) stares at me like I'm a crazy person. I want to get better at taking out of the house shots. I would love to carry my camera with me more often and feel more comfortable grabbing photos, but in the meantime, I've gotten decent at taking these "everyday" photos - the ones from my normal life.
I thought it would be fun to share tips this week because many of you may be documenting a week in your life with Ali Edwards next week. (I plan on it for sure!) And usually that means lots and lots of pictures. Taking interesting everyday photos is not about manipulating the subject and setting things up for the perfect shot, but instead about using a few different techniques to elevate your "normal."
Get on the right level. Shooting something (or someone) head on (instead of above or below) can make for an interesting shot. It shows the subject at it's proper size and shape in relation to the background. For all three of the photos above, I crouched down a bit so I was looking straight at the subject and on it's level.
Focus on details. I love excuses like "week in the life" to take photos of all the details in my house. Book spines, framed photos, inside drawers, inside the fridge... etc. And what about all the photos you never think to grab? Like what an incoming call looks like?
Use the timer. It's no secret I love the self timer to capture "action" shots. My camera has a timer option where it waits 10 seconds and then fires off as many shots as I tell it to in rapid succession. Usually I go for about four or five shots and then I am able to look through them and see what one works the best. Sometimes this is the photo with motion, sometimes it's not. This is generally a unique angle and absolutely my favorite way to capture images when it's just me at home.
Shoot from above. Everything, it seems, looks interesting when shot from directly above. I absolutely abuse this angle, but it's my favorite for getting details and best light. I use this for my meal photos, drink photos, product photos, workspace photos, everything. Most often, I lift the camera above my head to get the shot. Pay attention to your light source. If it's right above you, you'll get an awkward shadow from the camera. This works best when the light is natural and coming from the side.
Cut from the frame. Let your subject or subjects spill out of the frame. Surely there is a proper reason for this and I know photos like this have a special name. I love the interest that a cropped image creates and the idea that there is more to the shot happening just outside the borders.
Don't give up on reflection shots. They get a bum wrap - I know. Digital cameras and phones make it much too easy to take 500 self portraits in the bathroom mirror with your camera. I have 100s of them would not have thought to include them in this tip post. BUT then, when I was looking for photo examples, I found the three above in my iPhoto. They were images that didn't really get a second thought when I was taking them. But now, months later, I love them. Certainly not for how flattering the are, but for how they set the scene. They place me in my surroundings. And while I was living by myself for seven months I didn't get much of that. I love those three for being a spin on the "normal" reflection shot.
Use "natural" light. Every photo guide seems to recommend turning off the flash and I am no different. Let the light shine in. No flash will result in more natural colors and photos with greater depth. All of the photos in this post are taken without a flash and most are with decent sunlight which generally results in the "best" lit shots. But the four above are non-flash photos where the light source was particularly interesting - evening shots lit with just lamplight for a warm look, candle light and shadows from filtered sunlight. Turn off the flash and play with lighting options for different looks and photos.
Get the big picture. I am so guilty of just taking the detail shots. But probably, years from now, when we've moved seven times, I'll be so glad to have the BIG shots that show full rooms with people in them. Above are two favorites.