a couple simple tips for taking flattering candid photos

10 years ago everything I did was all about capturing the moment.  I had to have photos of every night out and every second of my vacations or else it felt like the memory was lost.  Back then taking pictures was fun and exciting.  After all, I was young, skinny, tan and vibrant.  There was no bad angle.

Nowadays there are a few extra pounds and wrinkles to contend with and most of the time I’m not thrilled with the photos my friends and family are taking of me.  I usually end up behind the camera taking really awesome pictures of everyone else.  Or I’m the one taking a selfie of me, whoever I’m with and my suddenly giant wrinkly arm.  Example:

taking good selfies

Ugh!  This is my long time amazing friend, Katie.  We were in Vegas for New Years pretending like we’re in our twenties again.  We got all decked out.  I wore a dress and heals for the first time in years!  All that effort and our photos end up being from the waist up, of course, because they’re selfies.  At the end of the night, while waiting in the longest taxi line of our entire lives (3 hours), I asked Katie to take a picture of my whole outfit.  I had to have something to show for this big night out!  So she takes my camera and I see the dreaded angle coming.  She has the camera pointed dead center on me.  I tell her to move it up and point down at me from above, but she insists that the only way she can fit me in the picture is from that angle.  Cue terrible, ugly photo:

taking good photos of your friends

Double chin for days, slumpy shoulders and fat arms.  Ewww.  I insisted that she change the angle and retake it.  I showed her how to hold the camera from above and angle it down on me to get a much more flattering pose and have me basically lose 10 pounds in mere seconds.  Here it is:

taking good photos of your friends

Now, this is by no means perfect, but it is about a million times more flattering than before.  Katie was absolutely dumbfounded by the difference.  It hit me then that most people have no idea how simple it is to take a better photo.  Here are some easy, easy tips to take MUCH better photos:

1.  Photography is all about angles.  The best angle to flatter almost anyone is from above and tilted downward.  The worst thing to do is to point a camera straight at someone or to take a picture from below (my mom’s favorite way to take photos of me).  Please afford this simple favor to all of your friends and family!  If everyone in my life did this, I would be much more likely to be in photos.

2.  Use your zoom tool!  If you are far away from someone, zoom in on them a little bit to take out all the background junk cluttering up the image.  Conversely, if you are too close, please zoom out so your friends and family don’t look like giants.

3.  Turn the camera and shoot the image vertically, like the photo above.  Most people forget about this handy option.  It is especially useful when you’re taking a photo of one person or if you’d like to get someone’s entire outfit in the photo without a bunch of unnecessary clutter on either side of them.

Use these simple tools to create better candid photos of your friends and family!  Trust me, they will thank you!

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1 Comment
  • Emily
    Posted at 18:25h, 09 September Reply

    Simple and informative, I love the article! I guess candid photos are the only ones that actually show the real emotions of the people being photographed. If you can nail the shot then you’re actually getting a photo full of emotions.

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