Cute or Priceless?

How to Take Better Pictures – An Instructional Series

I cannot possibly count the number of times people have told me how much they enjoy taking pictures, but never seem to get those “amazing” images that they see in my book on on my website.  Part of this is technical.  Not fully understanding your camera so you can get the best results with it.  The solution to this problem is very simply RTFM
(Read the Manual…)
Seriously…  Read your manual with the camera in reach and experiment with it.

You NEED to fully understand your equipment if you want the best results.  Also, if you’re not fully comfortable with your camera, you’re going to spend precious seconds fooling with it instead of pressing the shutter at that critical, fleeting moment.  This is the precise reason Annie Leibovitz recommends using your Smart Phone’s camera for this purpose.  It’s simple to use and always at hand.  Two of the most critical aspects in capturing that priceless moment.

Another critical aspect is “telling the story“.  Sometimes you want to isolate your subject from it’s surroundings for artistic reasons, but other times the environment is crucial to telling the story.

For instance:  At a wedding, when the bride is going to throw the bouquet…  Capturing just the bride pitching a bunch of flowers only tells half the story.  Capturing the bride on one side of the frame, with a clot of estrogen and alcohol-crazed young women on the opposite side, and frantically grasping for a flying bouquet – that is priceless.

An example:

At a three year-old’s birthday party, the little tyke is crouched in a booth, spending some quality time with GiGi (grandma).  There’s the potential for some cute shots here.  There is always the potential for cute with little kids.  Priceless, however, is another story.

So I could have taken this picture, which is certainly cute:


But seeing what was about to transpire, I headed on over to where I thought the best vantage point was, and settled in to start shooting a series of photos like the one below, which I felt was Priceless.

See what I mean?

Sometimes it’s just the balance of the composition that is key.  Other times, it’s very simply the “action” on both sides of an event – or in this case, the “communication” that’s taking place that makes the shot.  There is a connection between these two people you need to capture to tell the story.

Now go do it.


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