Here are my top ten professional tips to take your photography to another level!
1. Try shooting with available light (i.e. without flash). This achieves a few goals, as skin tones will look less shiny and the camera will expose for the whole room, so you will avoid a black hole and deer in headlights. You will also capture a more real colour and light in your image without flash.
2. Watch your shutter speed to keep your photos sharp. This is usually about the inverse of your focal length. For example, if you are shooting at about 60mm on your zoom lens, then your shutter speed should be 1/60th.
3. If you can’t get a fast enough shutter speed, use a cheat’s tripod. Prop your elbows on a chair/table/the floor to get about 2 more stops of light and keep your photograph sharp. You can also lean against a wall to stabilize your camera.
4. Try using prime lenses. Shoot wide open for a pin sharp subject and lovely soft background which gives that really “professional” you just cannot get from a point and shoot camera. If you don’t have primes lenses, then zoom all the way in on your subject and then step farther back. It will give a similar small depth of field effect to a wide open prime.
5. Make your subjects comfortable. Smile, crack jokes, tell them they look beautiful, throw a teddy bear at them….anything to make them laugh and have fun so they look natural and gorgeous. If they are really uncomfortable, tell them to walk away and then towards the camera just having a chat with each other and photograph that.
6. Look for frames, screens and reflections. Anything from doorways, arches, flowers, trees, mirrors and puddles make great frames and reflections for your subject and give a more professional feeling. Think creatively and don’t be afraid to take risks.
7. Be creative with lighting. Look for silhouettes in front of windows or the sunset. Shoot into the light for contra-jour and capturing flare. Play with your exposure and see what happens.
8. Look for unexpected angles and perspectives. Climb stairs or lie on the ground. Use the couple as a frame for their wedding and shoot from behind focusing on the room. Never stop looking for new perspectives.
9. Story-tell using the weather. If it is super sunny, shoot from down low to capture a blue sky. If it is raining, shoot through droplets and umbrellas. If there are dramatic clouds, underexpose them to give a moody feel.
10. Try some photographs where your subject isn’t looking at the camera. Have the couple chat, laugh, or cuddle, and tell them to pretend you’re not even there for some lovely and photojournalistic feeling photographs.