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How to Take Better Photos

There has never been a time when people are so into taking photos more than today. Selfies, pictures of your food before you even try it, Pinterest posts of your travels, Instagram posts of your outfits, Facebook pictures of anything and everything that's going on with you, thousands of aspiring photographers and more and more people not settling for the compact cameras but buying expensive, bulky DSLR's. It's cool. I like it.

If you're one of them, here are a few tips to upgrade your photos from amateur to glamateur.

Next time you're about to take a photo, trying to keep a certain distance and aiming to perfectly center your subject, STOP. Don't do it. Instead, try any of these.

1. Try a different angle.

Whatever you're taking a picture of, you don't always have to stand in front of it. I'm not saying never. This is great for, like, formal photos, sure. But for everyday stuff, try shooting from the left, or the right, or from high up or down under. Scoot down or hold your camera/phone up high. Just not the usual standing 4 feet away.

2. No need for the fanciest camera.

I've taken pretty neat photos with, shit, my phone. I've even taken really good product photos with it (see my Instagram product posts for Happee Body and Matcha Skin). Key is to have good light (natural, NOT from a flash, oh hell no) and a clean background. White's the best.

3. Lighting - no harsh lights.

Always go for natural light (I almost never use my flash unless it's utterly dark, e.g., at night). But just don't place your subject directly under it. Aside from possible blindess, your subject will shine. In the most unflattering ways.

4. Do a super closeup.

Yes. Not just a regular closeup. But a super closeup. Of course, not too close that you could only see 4 pores and a mole, not able to decipher if it's a face or a baby's butt. For starters, just try getting closer to your subject a little more than you usually would. Experiment on getting closer each time. Closeups will work great with your food and product photos.

5. Not everything needs to be centered.

In line with # 1, subjects don't always have to be in the center. Again, this works well with formal shots but for but for random stuff, try placing them anywhere else but the middle. You might cringe the first few times you try it, but trust me, it makes for more interesting shots.

6. Shoot low.

Next time you're about to take a shot, stop. How about kneeling down or placing the camera by your hip. Or even better, place the camera at an angle just a couple of inches above the ground. This might take a few tries at first. It's ok, thank goodness we're in the digital age, retakes cost $0. Keep adjusting it 'til you hit it on the nose.

7. Have them stand up high.

Instead of your subjects simply standing on the ground or sitting on a chair, switch it up. Use your imagination. Have them stand on a ledge (not too high of course that they might hurt themselves coming down), sit on a bench's back, jump, anything aside from simply standing up.

8. Be yourself.

We're all mostly camera shy. It's a trip but we're naturally self conscious as soon as a camera is raised in front of us. Though we know, deep down, that it's just ... a f@#$%ng ... photo.

SO, if you're the designated photographer, loosen up. Break the ice, crack jokes, make people feel comfortable around you. Because they will. If they feel this is not a big deal. Hang out with them first. Talk. Walk around. Chit chat. Then start shooting. Even while you're talking. Ease it into the conversation. Next thing you know, they'll be laughing, without any prompting, and that's when you get your best shots.

9. Relaxing location.

Pick a peaceful place to shoot. A park, a garden, a trail, the beach. Not on a busy weekend afternoon, early mornings preferably or weekdays. More nature, less crowds. You want your subjects to relax. They're already self conscious, don't amp it up by doing the photo shoot with more strangers in the background.

10. Props.

It doesn't have to be a float or something elaborate. Even a simple balloon, a chalkboard sign, a DIY banner or a quirky hat would work. Just to have something different that they can have fun with during the shoot.

These really don't take much effort and cost nothing (except for the props which still would be hardly anything, go to the Dollar Tree) but these simple changes will make your photos way cooler. Just have fun trying them out. Shooting ain't meant to be stiff. Beautiful photos were never about rules or proportions.

It's about EMOTIONS.

And not just your subject's. But yours. Because you're giving us a glimpse at how you must've felt when you saw that person, filled with joy, when he was right in front of you.

So play around. Experiment. Even if it seems silly. I'd love to see them. Show me your work and shoot me an email.


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