1. Blur the background
If you are using an SLR camera, try shooting with the aperture wide open (small number: e.g. f/4) to decrease the depth of your focus and blur distracting background elements. The background-blur will be greater if youâ€™re using a long lens and nearly non-existent with a wide-angle lens. A similar effect can be achieved by setting your camera to â€śportraitâ€ť mode.
2. Choose soft lighting
Instead of fighting the sun, try placing your subject in the shade of a tree or veranda. Use your cameraâ€™s flash to light your subject. This will bring their exposure closer in value to your background (which will still be lit by the sun). No more dark faces or overly bright backgrounds! Keep in mind that you will probably have to force your cameraâ€™s flash to fire by taking it off â€śautoâ€ť mode and setting it to â€śfill-flashâ€ť mode. On most point and shoot cameras this is represented as a lighting bolt symbol, without the â€śAâ€ť.
3. Experiment with white balance
The auto white balance setting on most digital cameras will save your butt in many situations. However, try experimenting with the different preset settings. The warm glow from a lamp, or the bluish hue of evening light can be wonderful adjectives for telling your story.
4. Stop looking at the camera!
The quiet, soft, fly-on-the-wall approach can be rewarding as well. Just because youâ€™re interacting with your subject, doesnâ€™t mean they have to constantly be looking at you. Get them involved in an activity. Experiment and find what works best with each subject.
5. Select a high shutter speed
Action shots are great. Blurry onesâ€”not so much! Keep your shutter speed as high as possible to ensure that when the right moment presents itself, itâ€™s not missed due to motion blur or camera shake. Most point and shoot cameras have an â€śsport/actionâ€ť mode or a â€śkid/petâ€ť mode which sets the shutter speed as high as possible given the lighting conditions.Add this article to your reading list