Whatever you're shooting--person, place, or thing--there are a few more things you can think about before you look through the viewfinder.
Think about how you want to portray your subject. How you can show your subject's personality through your photo? Do you want to capture your children's personalities? The playfulness of your dog? The excitement of a sports game? The hectic atmosphere of a city street scene? I think one key way to capture these things is based on this quote I recently read:
The whole point of a good photograph
is to show what is going on in your life at the time.
Joel Sartore, Photographing Your Family, page 125
Take a posed shot. Then take a candid one. It seems that whenever a camera is pulled out, someone hollers, "Look at the camera! Smile!" Those shots are fine if you're taking a portrait shot, maybe for a special occasion or to document an event--to show that these particular people were all there. But if we truly want to capture what our life is like at that moment, as in Sartore's quote above, I encourage you to take the candid shot.
In the candid shot, the subject is in his/her/its natural environment, doing something he/she/it normally does--playing together, talking, reading a book, participating in a sport, etc. He (and I'm using he so I don't have to keeping typing he/she/it) is not necessarily looking at the camera.
Danny is voting for the first time...
The girls are enjoying their new baby sister for the first time...
My dad is "overseeing" the carving of the turkey.
No pose in the below shot, either. Even though the scene is backlit (not great for capturing faces), Jacob and his grandma were listening to the conversation going on in the room. I saw Jacob's sweetness and love for his grandma. I saw my mom smiling because she knew I was clicking away with my camera. I'm so glad I captured this!
I wanted to capture the people in the above shots in their moments, enjoying their moments. Those things were going on in their lives, and in mine. I feel that I captured what was going on in my life at the time.
All that being said, go ahead and pose a shot. Older kids and (some) adults are good at posing for you, in the way you want them to. Check out Thomas below. The family room was a mess, and he needed to pick it up. I asked him to pose on purpose, and that was the face he made. I love it. :)
Treasuring life's moments,
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