When photographing people, spend time, before, after and during, engaging them in conversation. They should then relax and feel as if the act of you photographing them is a collaborative process.
Do not be afraid to take a lot of pictures. It demonstrates you are willing to try different compositions, angles, lighting situations and approaches to your photography.
Be influenced by work you see and admire, but do not try to slavishly copy it. Take risks with your photography, and challenge your perceptions of what makes a successful photograph. Use your smartphone to ‘photo sketch’, taking pictures every day.
You also need to understand the importance of telling a story with a series of images.
Do not be seduced by post production software such as Photoshop to create your images, try to get your images ‘right’ in camera.
Spend time taking pictures, and do not expect to succeed every time or the first time. Be prepared to learn from mistakes and revisit images that have not succeeded with a new approach. Have fun understand technique, but do not be ruled by it.
Individual and group shots
Try and take advantage of natural light. Artificial light has different colour tones and can affect your result.
Make sure light is behind you, the photographer and not the subject; otherwise you are looking at an image that will display like a silhouette or at least very dark.
Varying light sources can also work, take a test shot and find out.
Be aware of the background, something that will fade into the distance will be fine however if you have a strong colour your subject might look slightly tinged with that colour.
Turn the subject slightly to make sure they aren’t directly facing you. You can have them turn slightly and face you full on if required. If possible take the image from slightly above if possible it is more flattering.
If taking a large group split the group to face in to each other or maybe different directions, rather than have them all facing the camera. It isn’t a no, no but look at the group you are photographing first, then decide. You can see the different approaches from the images below.
Most cameras now have a “P” setting, it isn’t fully automatic but let the technology do what it is there to do, you should find the results good enough for taking individual headshots or group shots around the university.
Avoid taking shots indoor with top of the camera flashes, this will mainly saturates your subject in harsh light. Similarly if you are trying to take images of an audience, refrain from using top of the camera flash, this will only blast the first couple of subjects in light and send the rest into the shadows.
Check the ISO on the camera, unlike film quality digital cameras don’t produce as much grain as they used to and if you can shoot at a higher ISO indoors, say 640, 800 or even 1000 you won’t have to consider flash.
Keynote speakers, always ask them to pose at the front of the rostrum, either before or after giving their speech/lecture, otherwise you will find it very difficult to capture a smile during a speech/lecture. This will usually produce the most unflattering images of the subject.
We have a limited number of compact cameras you may borrow, plus we have a Canon EOS D30 DSLR for those of you who wish to use a more advanced camera. You can also consider taking images on your mobile phone or tablet.
We recommend high-resolution images if you are printing images however, for use on the web, images as small as 150 pixels x 125 pixels may be large enough.