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If you have read my introductory blog post then you will know that my background is in Photography and photo editing, hence why I started photo engraving too! I have regularly been asked to write this blog post to help lots of you when taking your own photos and thanks to lockdown I have finally found the time to give you my first series of top tips, so here we go! If you would like me to do a series two of these with more in-depth tips then let me know in the comments...
First things first! When photographing yourself or your subject always ensure that the light is facing them and not behind them. Having the light in front of your subject ensures that the shadows will fall away and will make the colours and tones look more flattering and even. If you are photographing a silhouette however, then you WILL need to have the light behind the subject.
One of my pet peeves is when people take selfies or photos of others with the camera pointing up at them. This has to be one of the most unflattering angles and will not only make you look like you have a double chin but it will distort your features, particularly if the subject is very tall. Phone cameras are usually around a 35mm which means they do cause distortion easily, so the key is to keep the camera at eye level or slightly above and pointing downwards just a tad, if you are much shorter than your subject then you will need to stand on something, or hold your hands up rather high to get a flattering photo.
As I mentioned above camera lenses can cause distortion but they can also make your body parts appear larger or smaller than they are. Generally speaking, the parts of your body that are closest to the camera will appear bigger and the parts of your body that are further away from the camera will appear smaller. therefore, if you are self-conscious about having a small bum for example and want it to look bigger then stand on your front leg to push your bum towards the camera. Likewise, if you are self-conscious about having large arms for example, then pose with your shoulders back and arms away from the camera to make them appear smaller.
At the beginning I mentioned to always face the light and this is the same when photographing outdoors as well, however, taking photos in direct sunlight will cause the lighting to look very harsh and direct. My top tip to avoid this is to shoot somewhere that is shady but also facing the sunlight, I usually look for small spots of shade such as under a tree to take my photos.
This tip may sound odd but it definitely works! I was given this tip from a Wedding Photographer that I shadowed when I was 16. If you are finding that your subject's eyes have a very un-natural 'staring' look to them, then asking them to close their eyes until you're just about to take the photo should help to resolve this and make their smile look lovely and natural.
Emma Thomson is the owner of gemzbyemz.co.uk – specialising in personalised jewellery and gifts engraved with your choice of photo or handwriting. You can view our ranges of products and gifts here.