I thought that I would post my guest post on Fireflies and Jellybeans in case any of you missed it.
I don't use some of these tips when I am shooting professionally, but everyone has to start somewhere, and I wanted to help out those of you that don't have any experience really. These tips will help the everyday mom taking pics of her kids, or grand kids.
Try to keep the background as simple as possible. You can change angles to move unwanted objects, or just physically move objects that you can. It is a lot harder to take them out in photoshop.
Shot in middle of day with my point and shoot camera (Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS):
If you own an DSLR, pay the $100 for a 50mm lens, 1.8 aperture to make your backgrounds blurry and blend together to a beautiful mush.
Try not to shoot in direct sun in the middle of the day...if you do, use your flash for fill light to fill in some of those shadows...or, even better, find shade...
This pic was taken in the middle of the day in the shade:
If you have an off-camera flash, you can bounce your flash off the ceiling by pointing it up instead of directly on the subjects, which distributes the light more evenly and makes it less harsh.
If you are using an DSLR, learn how to shoot in manual and learn how to use your in-camera metering.
If you are shooting in your home, try to use windows for natural light rather than the flash on your camera.
Flash vs. Light From Window (both shot with a point and shoot camera):
For me, a good picture HAS to be in focus...otherwise usually it bugs me and I just delete it. The best thing you can do in portraits is focus the subject's eyes.
I also use Pioneer Woman's Actions in Photoshop. They are free and you can download them here. I use Slight Sharpen in almost all my photos. Her B&W Beauty is my 2nd favorite action.
This picture is mostly blurry, but since her eyes are in focus it still looks good.
If you have an DSLR, shoot in RAW mode. When opened in photoshop, you have complete control over the image. I especially like to play with the white balance to get my color just where I want it.
If you don't have an SLR, make sure that you change the white balance in every different place you shoot. It is easy to do in point and shoot cameras and TOTALLY worth it.
This photo was shot with my Canon (point and shoot) camera. The color in this photo was adjusted in photoshop using "Selective Color." You can also use "Color Balance" but the best thing is to adjust your White Balance on your camera and get it right the first time.
Well, there is TONS that I could talk about...and I would go on forever, but I hope that these tips will help some of you for now, and I plan on doing some more tutorials and even some Q&A's in the future on my blog. Please ask me any questions for future Q & A's! I would love to answer them!