Photography Essentials

I’m not a professional photographer, but I get asked a lot why so many people’s photos come out looking awful. So here’s a few tips and reminders for us novice shutterbugs.

Lighting is Essential

If you’re indoors chances are your lighting it so dim two things are going to happen. First your photos will blur – a lot. Even if you try to hold your camera still your heartbeat and breathing will shake the camera ever so slightly and make the image blur. Solution to this is to use a flash or purchase a camera highly rated for it’s blur-reduction or smart adjustment to lighting.

Second your photo is likely to look very orange or very very dark. Some cameras have indoor settings that can adjust for this. Photoshop can only do so much and often without a flash or without moving people into a better lighting situation you’re just not going to get a picture worth using.

Charge & Check Before and Event

Make sure you battery is fully charged and that your camera is in working condition (flash card no corrupt, etc) the day before a big event you need to take pictures of. If possible, have a back up camera or better yet two people taking photos. Double the number of photos and angles to choose from will give you better flexibility for your marketing materials

People Need Permission

If you’re holding an event and want to do anything more than crowd-shots you must ask participants to sign a photo waiver before hand. This can be as simple as during registration having them check a box that says “I understand and permit that my photo might be taken at this event to be used for promotional products such as brochures, websites and newsletters for XYZ company.” A good sample waiver can be found here:  http://mbgjournalism.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/samplewavierlanguage.pdf

Equipment Can Help

A tripod is your friend if you’ve got a shaky hand. There’s plenty of varieties of every shape color size and specialized use. They aren’t expensive! Similarly if you’re setting up product or portrait shots get some specialized lighting. If you don’t have money for specialized lighting. If you don’t have a lot of money here are some cheap alternatives: http://digital-photography-school.com/diy-flash-and-lighting-hacks-for-digital-photographers

Buy a Good Camera

Research research research. There are a lot of wonderful cameras that are user-friendly but also designed to handle action-shots, dark rooms, etc. I recommend at least a 14 megapixel camera, DLSR if you can afford it. Check out consumer reports, Google is your friend here!

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