Photography 101: Capturing Life

By Kelly Smith; Photos by Justin Hackworth for Alt Summit

We live in a world covered in pictures. We document our daily life, we consume the stories of others, and we narrate by capturing a moment of life on film (or most likely a memory card). In the business of blogging or advertising, snapping photos without thought or purpose simply will not cut it. Everyone is an expert and most will see right through the carelessness. 

Now I am not saying that every picture has to be perfect and styled to the max. I am just recommending a challenge. We all want to grow our skills, that is why we are here in this community. So why not challenge ourselves to think about expressing meaning, purpose, and a story within the photos we take. Photos speak volumes, after all. 

So here are the tips I have gathered: 

  1. Do not try so hard. I know, I know. I just said to think - but hear me out. If the kids do not want to smile, then let them not smile. Let the feeling and air in the room lead the choices you make during the shoot. Let honesty be honest. 
  2. Capture strong emotions. Photographers tell bad jokes (or better yet - really good ones) for a reason. They want to get a reaction. They know that laughter reads better than a cheesy smile. It might not look as "nice" but the twinkle in an eye can't be faked. 
  3. Practice. Take a lot of photos. Just as you are learning to master the basics, the people around you are learning to live amidst your camera. 
  4. Utilize perspective. Get close, create movement, break apart each moment, and mix it up. 
  5. Find light that complements the emotion you are looking for. 

We would love to hear your tips. Please share them in the comments!