Photo Dilemmas Revealed And Repaired

15 April 2013

Ok, so it is the greatest family reunion since the beginning of time. You’ve even managed to get Great Aunt Thelma to come to the party and your sister/aunt/in-law has just had the most beautiful baby ever. You want to grab this moment in time forever and so you whip out your camera or camcorder, film everything as much as you can, get home to view the footage with glee, and discover that in every, single shot someone is doing something terrible. There is no perfect shot.

So, without further ado, here are some of the biggest dilemmas revealed and we give you some tips to help combat these so you get those moments captured perfectly, forever.

Panasonic – I recently did a piece with them on camcorder shots – did a survey of 1,000 UK parents to find out what the worst problems for families were and the top five are:

  1. Someone has their eyes shut
  2. Someone isn’t looking at the camera
  3. Someone in the group things the photo is unflattering
  4. It looks too posed
  5. One person always isn’t in the shot

The same survey revealed several interesting facts: four out of five mums and dads experienced technical hitches when trying to take a family picture of their little ones in action, most shots are rejected for classic errors like closed eyes and people looking in the wrong direction, and one in three mums confessed that they were the most likely to veto an unattractive snap.

So, how do you grab those moments perfectly? What are the secrets to taking spontaneous shots that look natural and have everyone doing the right things at the right time?

I ambled on over to the HP website where they’ve created a list of their top five errors in photography and how they recommend we correct them. The first is red-eye. This drives me mad, especially when I try to avoid it, so I was quite keen to hear what they had to say.

According to their site you need to avoid using your flash where possible, if you have to use it, ask your subject to not look directly into the lens. If this fails, use the built-in red-eye software included with most photo editing programs and some cameras. I find it doesn’t work that well, but it’s worth trying for that perfect photo.

Next up is the lovely issue of blur. Even the slightest shake will make a great photo into an eye sore so avoid it by supporting the camera and keeping very still. This is a common problem with zoom too. Use a tripod or balance the camera on a wall and use features like Action mode where the camera itself helps you to keep the shot steady.

Overcoming the issue of getting your family to look less posed in a shot is a pretty complicated affair. It’s close to impossible to have everyone’s eyes open, everyone looking at the camera and everyone looking lovely when you have so many different elements to deal with. I turned to some wedding sites for inspiration and discovered that this type of shot is called Lifestyle as opposed to, well,  Posed.

You won’t get everyone standing in line or staring at the camera. You won’t get that shot where everyone is beaming at you – either genuinely or with a sense of fatality – and holding hands. What you do get with a Lifestyle shot is that sense of fun, living and spontaneity that a posed shot can’t give you. People will have their backs to the camera, they will be laughing or crying or hugging, and these shots will tell you so much more about them than any posed shot ever can.

So there you have it, some ideas on how to get those perfect shots of your family and your kids as they grow up. Enjoy!

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