Tips on taking photos of your friends

photo of a Nikon film camera
Kamusal Alan/Creative Commons

Related Posts

I can’t even begin to tell you about how often my friends complain about my picture-taking skills when I click their photos. Each time, I go above and beyond, taking about 50 or more pictures from a variety of angles at the same location. Yet, somehow, none of them are good enough according to my friends.

Now, I would be lying if I said that I didn’t do the exact same thing. I usually resort to blaming myself for not being photogenic. However, I saw a video recently about how photography, just like drawing or singing, is an art that requires skill. So while you may be dissatisfied with the pictures of yourself, know that it isn’t your fault; your friends just suck at photography and have no skill. 

So, I decided to take matters into my own hands. With the help of two of The Daily Californian’s very own photographers, Theo Wyss-Flamm and Will Webster, I’ve come up with some tips on how my friends can take better pictures of me and vice-versa! Friends, it’s time to take notes.

Lighting matters

Theo emphasized the importance of lighting. By taking photos in the morning or evening, the lighting is softer and not directly overhead, resulting in much more flattering images. When the sun is overhead, he warns, it creates harsh shadows that he deems “ugly.”

photo of a girl

Theo Wyss-Flamm/Staff

This photo, for example, was taken in the morning. 

Negative space

Will and Theo both pointed out that, creating what they call “negative space,” allows the person in the image to stand out more. It creates a more dramatic effect and puts the attention on the subject of the photo. 

photo of someone with their hands up during the sunset

Will Webster/Staff

This photo provides the perfect example of negative space, which is basically just blank space surrounding the subject, like the sky in this photo. Don’t be fooled by their fancy words; we amateurs can just call it the blank space. 

Symmetry, symmetry, symmetry

Theo warns that symmetry can make or break a photo. For example, although this is a beautiful picture, it’s a bit off-putting because of the asymmetrical pillars. 

photo of a girl on a bench

Theo Wyss-Flamm/Staff

Had Theo aligned the pillars correctly in the frame, this picture would have been a perfect example of symmetry. Guess even the professionals mess up!

Remove distractions

Personally, I love this photo. But Theo says that the blade of grass covering her face is distracting and detracts from the subject. For this one, maybe just stick to the negative space mentioned above.

photo of a girl in a field of flowers

Theo Wyss-Flamm/Staff

Use flash

My friend Will advises that flash at night, especially disposable camera flash, is flattering and can sometimes provide a cool effect. This photo clearly makes this man with a guitar pop.

photo of a guy with a guitar at night

Will Webster/Staff

I hope that this sparked some inspiration for those friends who are the photographers of the group (you know who you are). Let me shout out you for being willing to spend hours until you find the right picture; you’re the real heroes. Best of luck!

Contact Paloma Torres at [email protected].