Everyday & annual pictures

Special occasions, any ordinary Tuesday, or a backyard garden are three scenarios that offer great picture-taking opportunities. Learn about taking different types of pictures below.

Everyday pictures (candids)
It's essential to document important family events. But it's also great to preserve in pictures the everyday occurrences. So always keep your camera handy for spur-of-the-moment picture opportunities.

  • Use whatever light exists in the scene. Indoors, use flash as needed; outdoors, use fill flash in the shade or in bright sun to prevent harsh shadows.
  • Seek a simple but relevant background. But don't waste time looking for the perfect background if it means you'll miss the picture opportunity.
  • Get close enough to show clearly what's happening but not so close that you interfere with the fun.
  • When the action is hot, take lots of pictures to increase your chances of getting a good one.
  • Go with the flow in choosing a camera angle—tilted camera, low angle, from the hip. Capturing the moment outweighs all the other tips.

Annual pictures and milestone events
By far the most popular reason people take pictures of other people is to retain a keepsake of an important event—from births and birthdays, to recitals and graduations, to weddings and anniversaries, to holidays and reunions. Each year at about the same time, play family historian by taking a picture of each child or the entire family in the same activity. Here are a few ideas:

Pictures of the kids

  • being measured for height
  • standing next to the same young tree to show how both grow over the years
  • heading off on the first day of the school year
Pictures of the family

  • standing in front of the house together
  • arriving at that year's vacation destination
For consistency through the years, try to take the annual picture from the same location and at the same camera height. Here are a few guidelines:

  • Get close enough to your subjects to show their faces well.
  • Be patient. Help your subjects relax, and you'll be rewarded with better, more natural-looking pictures.
  • A few days before the event, test your camera to make sure it's working. Load it with fresh batteries and have an extra set on hand. Be sure you have plenty of film (or an extra memory card for your digital camera). Have your camera loaded and ready when the festivities start.
  • Make lots of extra prints so each person in the picture can have a copy. And don't forget to give a print each year to the grandparents.

Environmental pictures
If a certain environment is essential to revealing your subject's personality, make an environmental portrait. A woodshop, a studio, a garden, even the golf course can play an important part in revealing a person's interests and personality.

Decide beforehand what time of day will be best for the type of lighting you want. Then follow these tips:

  • Use soft, diffused lighting, such as indirect window light indoors or overcast conditions outdoors. But bright sunlight can also work well if you can control harsh, detail-hiding shadows.
  • Show the entire person, so you can also include the environment. If you have a built-in zoom lens, take a few pictures at the wide-angle setting to include more of the surroundings.
  • Take your pick of a high, low, or eye-level camera location. Take a couple of eye-level shots and then let your creativity loose. Lie on the ground (you or you and the subject). Shoot from a second-story window.