Holly Sisson Photography
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The most magical aspect of photography is the ability to be transported back to a moment, celebration, or family event, and summer is the perfect time to capture these special family times.

Here are a few tips to help make those summer family photos more than just a ‘snapshot’:

Composition
We often make the mistake of centering the subject in the photograph, but the human eye prefers images where the subject is off to one side. This creates a more visually interesting composition.

Photographing your subject from their height/point-of-view is another way to improve the art of your photo. Try getting down on the same level as your children (or your pets), and see the difference it makes in your photographs.

De-clutter
Having clutter in the background of a photo is a sure-fire way to make it look like an amateur snapshot. Sometimes, it’s impossible to capture the image without clutter, so there are a few ways to cope with that situation. One way is to fill the frame of your image with your subject, and another alternative is to change the angle that you are shooting from.

Light
Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to take a photo in perfect light. Generally speaking, it is best to avoid direct sunlight (especially at midday), because strong light is very harsh and not flattering. Open shade, where your subject is covered by the shade but surrounded by light, is the setting for a beautiful image. For the best light, try shooting during the magic hours—just after sunrise and just before the sunset.

Now that you know these general photography rules, you can have fun breaking them, too. For example, try photographing your child from directly above or from ground level. Centering your subject can also work if the background is symmetrical. Finally, ask yourself what you like or do not like about a particular photo (yours or someone else’s) and you may find a new source of inspiration.

I’m happy to answer any photo questions you have if you post them as comment below. Good luck!

Holly Sisson is generously offering Toronto SavvyMom subscribers a complimentary 8x10 print ($95 value) with a family session booked before October 31, 2010. 

Holly Sisson is a Toronto-based photographer who specializes in on-location, natural-light photography. Whether it’s the client’s home, their local park, a favourite haunt in Toronto, or a visit to the local ice cream parlour, Holly strives to capture the moment and the natural personality of her subjects, creating images that will bring a smile to your face and joy to your heart—photos to treasure for a lifetime.
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