Picture Mama: Shoot the Best Summer Snapshots

By Melanie Merkling, mom of 1 and professional photographer

Another school year has ended and summer is here, which means vacation plans are made and bags are packed. Let the memories begin! Whether you’re heading to the beach, the lake, amusement parks or just having some fun in the backyard, the first thing you’ll grab is the camera. We all want great photos that capture our summer moments. There’s a way your “okay” snapshots can be turned into AWESOME memories that stay vivid in your mind. Make sure you have your camera, plenty of batteries, memory cards or film, and take this troubleshooting guide with you. You’ll avoid the common mistakes that lead to disappointing photos later.

Problem #1: Squinting eyes and harsh shadows

dont-for-juneresized.jpgThe best time of day to take pictures is 30 minutes after sunrise or 1 hour before sunset. These times provide nice even soft lighting. If you’re taking pictures during the middle of the day on a bright sunny day, turn subjects away from the sun and turn on the flash to prevent shadows. (The picture to the right is an example of a “don’t”. Notice the shadows on his face and the forced “say cheese” smile.)

Problem #2: Blurry pictures due to foggy lenses

If you’re traveling to the beach, lake or anywhere else with high humidity, you may notice your lens fogs up, making it impossible to take a clear picture. This happens because of the extreme shift in temperature and humidity when the camera goes from a nice, air-conditioned room or car to the muggy air outside. Avoid this by storing your camera in the trunk of your car, on a balcony, or by heading outside an hour before any important photo opportunities.

Problem #3: Just not interesting

boy-in-sandresized.jpgTo make sure you get a good selection of photos to enjoy, take lots of pictures. Try shooting from different angles and in different types of lighting. Including people in scenic shots – with the subjects closer to the camera and further away from the landmark, sign or other background – make for more interesting shots. Be invisible. The best pictures are most often captured when people forget you’re taking them. (Notice the example to the right. This kind of shot will remind Mom how much he loved playing in the sand and is a natural action shot.) Looking back on photos that truly reflect the expressions that come naturally will bring back much fonder memories than those with the same old “say cheese” smile that’s already in hundreds of other photos. Have fun and don’t forget to jump in a few shots yourself. Happy clicking!

To contact Melanie Merkling, visit her online by clicking here: MELANIE’S WEBSITE