Taking more compelling photos

Kira Geiger | Creative Specialist

Capturing striking images of your affiliated fund’s grantmaking in action is critical to telling your story (not to mention, securing high quality media coverage). Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll be well on your way to taking more compelling photos.

KNOW YOUR CAMERA. Whether that’s a digital point and shoot, a digital single lens reflex (DSLR) or a phone camera, the more familiar you are with your equipment, the more you will be able to take photos on auto pilot without being distracted by the mechanics of the camera.

  • Make sure your lens is clean.
  • Shoot at the highest quality size and resolution.
  • Avoid using the camera’s zoom on a small digital camera or phone camera. The more you zoom, the poorer the quality of the image.
  • Unless you are using a DSLR camera with an attachable flash, turn off your camera’s flash and use as much available light as possible. The on camera flash can leave photos looking to harsh, blown out or dark.

SURVEY THE AREA. Before you take the shot, check the scene for any distracting elements. Move closer, or change your viewpoint, to remove unwanted objects from your photo. Examples: backs of heads, trash cans, beer cans, etc.

  • Find a great background if you are shooting a posed photo.
  • Be willing to ask people to pose for you. Ask them to smile and look at dinners. Balance posed vs. candid.
  • Don’t be afraid to move distracting items from the photo—ask to hide bottles or cans, move trash, etc.

LEARN THE BASIC COMPOSITION TRICKS THE PROS USE. There are several guidelines you can use to help improve your photos. “Composition” refers to the way the various elements are arranged within the frame. Many of these rules have been used in art for thousands of years and are a good starting point to take more creative images.

  • Rule of thirds – you can switch on the grid on your phone camera to assist you:

– iPhone: Go to “Settings,” choose “Photos & Camera,” and switch “Grid” on.

– Samsung Galaxy: Launch the camera app, go to “Settings,” scroll down and switch the “grid lines” option to “on.”

  • Centered composition and symmetry vs. asymmetry
  • Frame within the frame
  • Leading lines
  • Isolate the subject
  • Change your point of view / perspective
  • Foreground interest and depth

PRACTICE. Photography isn’t about gear, it’s about taking pictures. Get out there and take photographs! The best way to take better pictures is to PRACTICE!