1. Smile a lot.
Try to make a habit of smiling at everyone you see, including strangers. You could smile to let someone know you’re happy to see them, as well as showing you have a warm and friendly attitude. If you’re out with friends, you could always practise a little magic – make sure you’re standing next to each other at parties. That way, you’ll be able to smile at each other when the camera flashes. When you are happy, you make others happy too.
2. Have fun.
Make sure you’re enjoying yourself, no matter how uncomfortable it might feel at times. For example, it may be difficult to laugh with strangers in the middle of a party, but remember that everyone has a laugh waiting to be found. So try to relax and go with the flow, making light of any discomfort.
3. Say “cheese!”
The easiest way to get people to smile for the camera is to snap away at them. But take your time – you don’t want to scare anyone off. To be extra convincing, tell them you’re doing a project about photography and asking for their opinion. They might like to think they’re helping out in the world of photojournalism!
4. Ask people what they think.
Try putting forward ideas, such as “I’d love to do a story about…”. Then, when you find people who are willing to talk to you, ask them questions to find out more about the topic. Be careful not to get too personal, though – there’s a fine line between having an interesting conversation and prying too much.
5. Don’t be afraid to use props.
If you’re taking a photo of yourself, use any object to add interest. For example, you could use a stick or your hand, or wear an unusual hat or necklace.
6. Keep it short and sweet.
Shooting people for too long will quickly lose their interest, especially if you’re using props. Don’t use more than five photos per person and make sure your subject is smiling.
7. Know your gear.
It’s important to know what kind of camera you’re using. If you don’t, you won’t be able to frame your subjects in the right place. Make sure your shutter speed is fast enough to freeze any action, and your ISO high enough to reduce camera shake.
8. Don’t just rely on your phone.
If you’re not comfortable with using your camera, consider getting it professionally developed and printed. It’s a great way to create memories and put your creativity on display.
9. Tell the story behind the photo.
Your pictures will mean more if you tell people about the context in which they were taken. Perhaps you’ve been to a sports event and used a photo of the winning team. Or maybe you’ve snapped a picture of an animal in a nature reserve. If you can do this, you’ll help people remember the event, appreciate the beauty of the subject and the area you’re in.
10. Don’t forget to smile.
When it comes to being in front of the camera, it’s not always about looking serious. Sometimes a cheeky smile can be a great way of showing off your personality. And if you’re shy, don’t worry – people generally prefer to smile when they’re being photographed.