We love receiving photographs of Six Book Challenge participants accepting their certificates. However, taking a good photo isn't always easy. To help out we have put together this quick guide with four easy tips to help you take the best photo possible. The better the photo, the more likely it is that we'll be able to put it up on our website.
Tip one: Know your camera
Whether the camera (or mobile phone) belongs to you, or if you are borrowing it, take a bit of time before the ceremony to familiarise yourself with how it works. Photo taking will run a lot smoother if you know how to: turn the flash on, off, and select/deselect the auto functions, and how to zoom in and out while keeping the subject in focus.
Tip two: Lighting and set up
One of the difficulties of taking your own photos is having bad light quality - often your photos may come out dark or grainy. There are ways you can improve on this without needing specialist lighting equipment.
- If you know the space where your ceremony will take place, have a quick think beforehand about the layout of the room and where might make the best backdrop for the photos. Where gets the most natural light?
- Never ask people to stand directly against a bright window, this will only shadow their
face and make it hard to see them.
- Whenever possible, don't use flash. A flash in poor light can often cause odd-looking reflections, or make the subject of your photo appear washed out. The more natural light you have at your disposal, the better. If the weather is nice, why not go outside?
- If you have to use the flash, use it judiciously. Make sure that there is nothing shiny which will reflect the flash in a distracting way.
Tip three: Instructing subjects
Don't be afraid of asking people to reposition themselves if you need them to. Things to consider:
- Are there a lot of people in the photo? Is anyone blocking anyone else? Are you able to fit everyone in the frame of your camera? Remember to fill the entire frame and don't leave lots of background or foreground - either move closer to your subject or learn how to zoom with your camera. Perhaps ask larger groups to kneel or sit on chairs in front of those standing.
- Are they holding up a certificate? If so, make sure that the certificate isn't covering any part of their face - unless your name is Andy McNab! People are more important than their certificate.
- Consider getting rid of distracting backgrounds and clutter. Move tables/chairs/rubbish bins if necessary.
- Ask them to smile!
Tip four: Quantity
Take more than one photo. Even professional photographers take lots of photographs in order to capture that perfect one. Try a few angles and see what works best. Try out the tips suggested above, moving around objects in the room or asking people to rearrange themselves. Also try not to hold the camera up for too long; this will cause your hands and arms to be shakier. Give your arms a rest between shots. If possible, use a tripod.
Send your photos to Genevieve.Clarke@readingagency.org.uk with a short description of the who was involved with the ceremony. Remember to get permission to photograph vulnerable adults and anyone under 18 years old.
You can also download a pdf of this guide.