Summer is here and for many of us, vacation plans are close on the horizon. Whether you're going to Seaside, San Diego or staying right here in town, I want to make sure your vacation photos perfectly capture the spirit of your memories. Summer vacation is a prime time to capture pics for your Christmas cards, new Facebook cover photos and a family picture you can finally print out and frame. The first hurdle in taking a family photo is what to wear. Sure, you could play it safe and dress in matching blue jeans and white shirts, but does that really express your family? Why not be bold? Convey your true selves and have fun with COLOR. Your family and your pictures will pop with with the addition of even a little color. I tested this theory with my own family. Swipe back and forth and choose the one you like best. When everyone is wearing bright colors, your family will exude confidence and joy. After all, it is vacation!! Let your wardrobe reflect the spirit of the moment. When you are having fun, the best family photos will happen naturally.
Hurdle number two: the photographer. Gone are the days when you need a high end camera or a professional photographer to take a good family photo. All of us have a smartphone, so let's learn how to get the most of it. I've teamed up with FWTX Magazine Senior Staff Photographer Olaf Growald to offer you the best tips to take incredible smartphone family photos on the fly. So grab your family, your smartphone and your pool wrap and snap away.
1. Always keep the sun to one side, either left or right of subject. Never shoot with the sun directly in the face of the subject (behind you). Shoot in shade if at all possible. Window light is best for people portraits.
2. Turn off the flash. It darkens the background and creates harsh, unnatural light. Plus it puts the camera in control instead of you.
3. Stop shooting vertical photos. Instead try landscape (horizontal) and place people on one side of the frame to create an interesting imbalance.
4. Find a steady spot to hold the camera so that it won’t wiggle for low light photos.
5. On an iPhone, touch the screen once to focus, then touch it again and run your fingertip up or down on the yellow focusing square to lighten the photo on the fly. It will hold that setting for one photo.
6. Don’t be afraid to try new ideas, weird lighting, and odd angles. You never know until you try.
7. Try an actual camera app rather than just the one that comes standard on the phone. They usually offer a way to shoot with more control and the option for manual mode.
8. Most importantly, keep a journal of your photo successes and mistakes. The best photographers learn from their mistakes and build on new solutions to improve.