So just to review the contest rules.... Each day for the next couple of weeks, I will be posting a photo tip (I've been a portrait and wedding photographer for over 10 years) to help you spruce up your camera skills for summer. Whenever you are ready, post your fav. pic on your blog, mentioning the contest (or email it to me if you don't have a blog). Then simply comment on any of my photo-contest posts and let me know where to see it!
Spread the word, and don't be shy. As I mentioned previously, this is my first contest, so your odds of winning are great. Not to mention the wonderful new things to learn.
Now on to the TIP (if you missed Tip #1 - you can read it here.):
TIP #2 - Sweep the Background!
One of the most important things you can do in taking pictures is to sweep the background for messy, ugly or just unwanted stuff. As a general rule, plainer backgrounds are better for portraits. Check especially for:
a) people wandering by (if so, wait until they pass to snap the photo)
b) tree trunks or towers (if they line up with your subject, they may end up looking like they are coming out of their head, like antlers)
c) garbage, cars parked, bunny ears (ahem - cut it out kids!), anything that is a distraction from the main focus of the picture.
Try stepping to the left or right to see how the background changes. That may be all you need to eliminate the fire hydrant from view. It's always easier to move yourself around than your subjects. This is especially helpful if you want to get a monument or landmark in the scene.
Stand on tiptoes or crouch down. Move until Aunt bessie is in front of the water meter. Sweep, sweep, sweep (we wives and moms are good at this!!!), and don't be afraid to move! This will make a dramatic difference in the quality of your pictures. :-)
Some examples: In the first picture, the baby has a Christmas tree growing out of his head, and some lights in his hair. The second photo is much better, a slight step to the side was all it took. :-)